Linking Research and Practice

The goal of providing all students access to quality math education requires that teachers and researchers collaborate and engage together as a community. (Fonger, Reiten, Strachota, Ozgur; 2017)

I am committed to the advancement of mathematics education through practices and processes that help establish greater connections between the work of research and the work of teaching and learning. My work focuses on characterizing and supporting meaningful learning mathematics, with an emphasis on students’ meaningful learning of algebra. Linking research and practice involves partnerships, communication, and community-engagement.

Research-Practice Partnerships

Antiracist Algebra Coalition, Teacher-Researcher Collaboration

Visual/Textual Communication

Zines, Sketchnotes, Videos

Community-Engaged Scholarship

Public Humanities: Placemakerspace

Research-Practice Partnerships

Research-practice partnerships are structured research projects that involve building and sustaining partnerships — collaborative, working relationships — across stakeholder groups. As a researcher, I collaborate with teachers, school leaders, education consultants, parents, and students, to design, enact, and study interventions to support students’ meaningful math learning.

One example of a research-practice partnership is the Antiracist Algebra Coalition. This project, funded in part by the Syracuse University Engaged Humanities and CUSE Programs, is focused on educating teachers to enact antiracist practices during math instruction. See also “What is Our Work” Antiracist Algebra Coalition zine.

Visual/Textual Communication

Zines are mini magazines. I create these as tools to improve communication across stakeholders who operate in diverse discourse spaces (e.g., teachers, researchers, school principals). I draw all the text and images by hand based on research that I read, experiences that move me, and ideas that need to be visualized.

For example, “can the inequities of redlining ever result in equity?” Check out the “That’s So Ghetto” #microagression Zine as a blog post

Another zine is “What is Our Work” Antiracist Algebra Coalition.

Humans learn through both visuals and text. Learn to create sketchnotes – a way to synthesize ideas through text and visuals – to improve communication and bolster learning. Some math-ed specific resources are here.

Sketching supports linking research and practice through visual and text-based communication. Can you draw it? Sketchnotes 101.

How sketchnotes can link research and practice by Prof. Nicole Fonger

One way to link research and practice is to interpret theory with the aim of improving practice.

Prof. Nicole Fonger on Representational Fluency in Teaching and Learning Mathematics

What is algebra? How do students understand functions? How do young children reason over time?

Prof. Nicole Fonger on Bridging Research and Practice in Algebra

Community-Engaged Research

The goal of providing all students access to quality math education requires that teachers and researchers collaborate and engage together as a community.

Fonger, N. L., Reiten, L., Strachota, S., Ozgur, Z. (2017). Engaging in research: Why? How? Now! Mathematics Teacher 110(6), 462-465. JSTOR ResearchGate
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Fonger, Reiten, Strachota, Ozgur (2017)

One form of Linking Research and Practice is CommunityEngaged Scholarship. This Community-Engaged Scholarship blog post shares some perspectives on what this means, and a few resources for framing this work as scholars.

One example of a Community-Engaged project is a Public Humanities initiative focused on Place via Community Art in Rochester and Syracuse through Placemaking.

Curious how to get started in CommunityEngaged Scholarship? This Community-Engaged Scholarship blog post introduces a Zine and 5 step process.

I include a planning table for ease of getting started. A few student-generated project ideas are also shared.

Tips for Sustaining a Linking Research and Practice Agenda

At the core, linking research and practice is all about connection. Have a conversation. See where it takes you.

Practical tips for how to get started: (1) Develop and build relational receptivity. Engage in group Dicsussions around artifacts of policy and practice. Learn with and from thought leaders. Engage in shared visioning activities. Engage broadly with artifacts by reading, watching, listening, sketching, writing, and discussing.

Course Syllabi Related to Linking Research and Practice in Mathematics Education (v. Fall 2021, Syracuse University)

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