York College Mathematics Education Seminar

Note: More recent talks appear at the bottom.

Fall, 2006

Inaugural Talk:

Sept. 13. 2006

Linda Curtis-Bey
Director, Mathematics Department
NYC Department of Education.


Finding and Retaining Mathematics Teachers for NYC Schools

October 18, 2006

Dr. Susan Picker
Mathematics Coach Region 9
NYC Department of Education.


Mathematics' Image Problem: The Elephant in the (Class) Room

November 15, 2006

Diane Rattien, Mathematics Coordinator and Program Chairperson
Queens High School For The Sciences


Everything You Wanted to Know (and Did NOT want to Know) About
Teaching Mathematics, but Were Afraid to Ask


You will hear about teaching from a mathematics teacher's sperspective. Why do you want (or not want) to be a teacher? What facts about teaching do you want to know, but can't really ask a professor or an administrator? What makes a successful teacher? Get the everyday details of what it is like (and what it "takes") to be a mathematics teacher.

Spring, 2007

Feb. 21, 2007

Alice Artzt
Professor of Mathematics Education
Director of TIME 2000


Reforming Mathematics Teacher Education: Now is the TIME!


This session will describe the TIME 2000 Program (i.e., Teaching Improvements through Mathematics Education), an innovative, four-year, tuition-free undergraduate secondary mathematics teacher preparation program at Queens College. Since the program is currently in its ninth year of service to the profession, many important lessons have been learned and will be shared, regarding best methods of recruitment, preparation and retention in the program and in teaching.

March 21, 2007

Elaine M. Carman
Mathematics Instructional Specialist
New York City Department of Education


Questioning in the Mathematics Classroom - Is it "How" or is it "Why?"


No matter what classroom procedures are followed, how students are questioned determines the nature and quality of student work and response. Good questioning stimulates thought, leads to inquiry, and results in understanding and mastery. Poor questioning leaves mental power unawakened, cripples thought, and results in inefficiency and lack of mastery. What does good questioning look like? How can questions be improved? We will look at samples, discuss strengths and weaknesses and try to define good questioning techniques.

April 18, 2007

Dr. Jane Keleher
Teacher Education
Director, Teacher Academy at York College


What to Expect and How to Prepare for Evaluation as a Preserve and Inservice Teacher


Professional educators are evaluated throughout their careers, beginning with preservice evaluation as student teachers and candidates for state certification. Evaluations continue as inservice teachers, with regular assessments at the building and district level. Learn about the evolution of teacher evaluation, learn strategies that lead to successful evaluations, and view examples of evaluation forms used in the field.

May 16, 2007

Anne Burgunder
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
New York University


The Use of Alternative Algorithms to Support Number Sense and Connect
Arithmetic to Algebra


What happens when a child has spent several years of their schooling learning traditional algorithms and still can't compute accurately ? This session is about what to do with the kids who really don't get mathematics and are still struggling with the basics. Teachers should consider introducing alternative computation strategies that have been used throughout history and around the world. This session will explore some new ways to do the basics as well as how they facilitate a transition into algebra.

Fall, 2007

September 19, 2007

John Garvey
Dean for Collaborative Programs
Director of the Teacher Academy


Getting the Right Answer!


It is likely that few mathematicians or math educators would either underestimate the importance of getting the right answer in many instances or that they would overestimate the importance of getting the right answer as part of learning mathematics.

As CUNY has worked to develop and implement its new Teacher Academy (a program dedicated to preparing math and science teachers for middle school and high school) that will be enrolling students on nine campuses as of September of 2007, those of us at the University’s Central Office and the colleges have struggled to get our own right answers.

We have made our share of mistakes but I believe that we’ve learned from them and we remain open to learning some more. In my talk, I willl review what we have attempted to do in the areas of student recruitment, assessment and placement, student support and advisement, curriculum development, work with our colleagues in the Department of Education and evaluation. I hope to give a balanced assessment of our accomplishments and our challenges thus far and talk a bit about the lessons we have learned. One thing we do know is that, if we are going to be successful, we have to do an awful lot right.

October 17, 2007

Laurel Cooley
Brooklyn College (CUNY)


The Power of "Cultural Scripts" in Teaching Mathematics


Stigler and Hiebert (1999) found that mathematics teachers in three countries, Japan, Germany and the United States, taught with very different 'scripts'. They argue that in order to change mathematics education in the U.S., there needs to be a change in the cultural scripts of teaching, rather than changes in individual teachers. In this study, 8 alternatively certified math teachers were observed 120+ times, about 15 times each. They were given a model by which to teach, the 'workshop model' that was standards-based. This presentation reports on how this model affected their teaching scripts and also compares these 8 case studies with data gathered in a survey of 300 AC math teachers who had already been teaching for one year using the same prescribed model. Therefore, the data presented provides both a micro and a macro view.

November 28, 2007

Jie Zhang
Queens High School For the Sciences at York College
New York City Department of Education


Analyzing Trends in Elementary Mathematics Education by Looking at the Recent New York State Middle School Mathematics Testing Program


This session will give an overview of the NYS Mathematics Testing Program for Grades 3-8, introduce the grading rubrics for educators, and evaluate sample student work. By examining the test standards we can see how elementary mathematics education is changing.

Spring, 2009

February 18, 2009

Lidia Gonzalez
Department of Mathematics
York College (CUNY)


Exploring the Intersections between Mathematics and Social Justice


This talk will focus on the emerging field of teaching mathematics for social justice. In doing so we will consider the role that mathematics plays as a gatekeeper to future success, as well as the inequities that exist with respect to course taking patterns, selection of majors and success in traditional mathematics courses when comparing students from marginalized communities to their more mainstream peers. We will then examine the role that mathematics can play when it is viewed not as a neutral subject but rather a tool to understand and examine social life and to challenge the injustices that presently exist therein. We will consider how the teaching of mathematics can be viewed as a political act, what math for social justice looks like in practice and the implications of the above on educators.

March 18, 2009

Sunita Vatuk
Senior Research Associate
Graduate Center
City University of New York


Pedagogical Choices and the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching of NYC Teaching Fellows


In the past two decades considerable attention has been brought to bear on the question of what type of mathematical knowledge is important for mathematics teachers. In this presentation I consider lessons from the classrooms of four mathematics teachers training under the auspices of the New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF) program by way of examining their Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) and seeing how their MKT interacts with content knowledge of mathematics and their attempts to employ reform-oriented strategies in their teaching. I present the lessons as exemplars of how MKT, or lack thereof, plays out in mathematics classrooms. I conclude that teacher preparation programs could benefit by particular attention being paid to the MKT of teachers so that they can effectively deploy their content knowledge of mathematics and their pedagogical content knowledge to ensure teaching for deep understanding.

Founding Organizer:

Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451

After a "lapse" in talks of the Mathematics Education Seminar, presentations are now being resumed. The activites of the seminar are now being run by:

Professor Lidia Gonzalez
Department of Mathematics
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451


York College Teacher Academy
Mathematics and Computer Science Club (York College)
Office of the Provost