Annette Rouleau, PhD Student in Mathematics Education

June 20, 2017

Annette Rouleau started her PhD in Mathematics Education in September 2014. She admits having conflicted feelings when Dr. Peter Liljedahl first asked her to be his PhD student. However, she has since met the challenge head-on. “I don’t really think of the end result of this experience. I am taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to learn and grow. So far, the journey has been magnificent.” Prior to starting her PhD, Annette taught elementary school for ten years and was a district lead teacher in both technology and differentiated instruction. When Annette is not studying and researching, she is delivering mathematics workshops to teachers throughout British Columbia. Curiosity and a love of learning, combined with a desire to better understand the teaching and learning of mathematics, are what compel Annette to keep learning.

Regarding her research interests, Annette focuses on professional development for mathematics teachers. Her thesis project analyses data from teachers related to the tensions they may experience when implementing changes in their mathematics classrooms. “Having had several years’ experience facilitating mathematics workshops, I was always curious why there was such a variety of teacher responses to professional development – from boundless enthusiasm to foot-dragging reluctance. What were these teachers experiencing that could result in such a gamut of approaches? Reading and reflecting on the literature around professional development led me to the notion of tensions which, in turn, led to the desire to develop a descriptive understanding of the tensions teachers face, and to investigate their potential prescriptive effect on professional development.”

Annette is also working on some other projects. “I am involved in an ongoing project with Prof. Nathalie Sinclair to maintain and curate a dynamic geometry website that provides lesson plans and supporting materials for elementary teachers. I am also working on a project with Dr. Frédéric Gourdeau of Université Laval to translate his K to 12 French problem solving website into English. This involves translating the lesson documents and creating English versions of the accompanying videos”.  Annette is also employed as a research assistant for Prof. Rina Zazkis, and is studying the transition between communities of practice – from teacher to researcher. “The study covers two areas: Master’s students decision-making when conducting research interviews, and research knowledge development among Master’s students as they engage with empirical literature. Although all these experiences have been very enriching, I have to say that one of the highlights of my SFU experience is also being a sessional instructor. I teach EDUC 475 – the elementary pre-service mathematics methods course. This is one of the unexpected pleasures in sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics education with future elementary teachers”, she commented.

After completing her PhD, Annette would like to carry on doing what she is doing now. “I love teaching and working with teachers, both pre-service and in-service. I love the research and writing process and being involved in diverse mathematics projects. I would like to find a way to continue developing a deeper understanding of the teaching and learning of mathematics and to share that with others in the education field”.