Leading Change in Math Education: Perspectives from Dr. Peter Liljedahl

March 14, 2024

Join us as we celebrate the International Day of Mathematics, observed on March 14th, with Dr. Peter Liljedahl, the leader behind the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Innovations in Mathematics Education program in the Faculty of Education.

Dr. Liljedahl's passion for integrating cutting-edge research and innovations into teaching methodologies has inspired new approaches and strategies in their classrooms.

In this Q&A, he delves into the program's origin, its transition to an online format, and distinctive aspects like its emphasis on elementary math education and faculty composed of industry leaders.  

Q: What inspired the inception of this program and the focus on integrating cutting-edge research and innovations into teaching methodologies? 

A: The program began as a response to a need for professional graduate programs from sources outside the Lower Mainland. The first cohort was in Whitehorse. Since then, we have been in Kelowna, Burnaby, and Grand Prairie twice, [as well as in] Prince George and now we are back in Whitehorse. Each time we went to a location, it was because there was a concentration of teachers interested in the program in that location. This is why the next cohort will be online – to provide further access to teachers across B.C. and Canada.

Q: How does this program differ from traditional math education master's programs?

A: This program has two unique features. First, teachers enrolled in this program learn about some of the latest general developments in teaching and mathematics education. Second, the program focuses on elementary mathematics education. Most other programs focus on secondary math teachers or K-12. 

Q: What encouragement or guidance would you offer for educators who may be hesitant about pursuing further education in mathematics?

A: Unlike other programs that have an intake every year or every second year, this program seeks to meet the needs of teachers. The current program is being offered as an online cohort. The next cohort might be in person somewhere in B.C. or elsewhere. If this program is what you have been looking for, even if you feel the timing may need to be corrected, seize the opportunity now. The program is designed from the ground up with teachers in mind. We do not have classes in July or August and avoid classes during spring break.

Q: What impacts have you observed or witnessed from your former students or alumni in their classrooms?

A: Our graduates make robust changes in their classrooms that improve the teaching and learning of mathematics for all their students. More than this, however, our graduates have become change agents in their schools, districts, and provinces. 

Discover how this program shapes the future of math education and provides flexibility and support for educators balancing work and further education in mathematics. Learn more about the online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Innovations in Mathematics Education, register for an information session or apply now to start the program in Fall 2024!