Wednesday Webinar Series:

Powerful Ideas in STEM Education for the Classroom

A central belief of MƒA is that teaching is a true profession and that it is important for educators to have conversations about current ideas in the field. 

Our Wednesday Webinar Series invites potential applicants for our MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship and Master Teachers from affiliated programs to learn about new ideas in math and science education. Each webinar leads with a talk from a nationally recognized STEM educator, followed by breakout sessions, where small groups of teachers consider how those powerful ideas can be applied in their own classrooms.

Upcoming Events

MƒA teachers can register for these events on the Small-World Network. New York State Master Teachers, MƒA DC teachers, and applicants for an MƒA fellowship can register using links sent by your program officers or the MƒA Admissions Team.

May 11 — Humanizing Disabilities in Math Education: An Intersectional Justice Approach

Featuring Alexis Padilla, Ph.D. and Paulo Tan, Ph.D.

Paulo Tan and Alexis PadillaHistorically, disabled students have been dehumanized in education, and particularly so in research and practice related to mathematics. Typically in school, they are only offered access to low-rigor mathematics emphasizing rote procedures and narrow skills, and are often segregated physically and socially from their non-disabled peers. Educators are crucial to the humanization of disabled students via anti-ableist and antiracist work toward systemic transformation. In this presentation, Drs. Padilla and Tan share how an intersectional justice approach is crucial in humanizing mathematics education for and with disabled students.


Previous Speakers

What the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Taught Us About Teaching and Learning In STEM with Ann Edwards, Ph.D.

Ann EdwardsThe COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on students, teachers, and how we think about teaching and learning more generally. As we return to classrooms, we need to address these effects on student learning and social-emotional well-being, including mindsets, self-efficacy, and sense of belonging. In doing so, we should recognize this moment as an opportunity to define what is most important in educating our students and changing the status quo to be more effective, equitable, and just. In this talk, Dr. Ann Edwards will reflect on the challenges facing students and teachers in STEM education as we transition back to in-person learning, what teachers and schools can expect to see in their students cognitively and socio-emotionally, and how we can provide support for the necessary shifts in the labor of teaching.

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Settler Colonialism in Mathematics with Belin Tsinnajinnie, Ph.D.

Belin TsinnajinnieIn this talk, Dr. Belin Tsinnajinnie discusses diversity and inclusion initiatives informed by frameworks that identify mathematics education as settler colonialism, as well as his own experiences of inclusion and exclusion. Dr. Tsinnajinne calls for a shift in the ways we frame conversations of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in mathematics by asking: How do diversity and inclusion efforts in mathematics and mathematics education directly empower marginalized communities?

The Underrepresentation Curriculum: Supporting Social Justice & Student Identity with Moses Rifkin and guests Angela Flynn and Johan Tabora

Moses RifkinSTEM and STEM education have all too often been spaces of exclusion and injustice. As STEM teachers, we must reconstruct our classrooms into spaces of inclusion that transform unjust systems of power and privilege. In this talk, Moses Rifkin will explore The Underrepresentation Curriculum (URC) project as one possible path to a more just society. The URC is a free, flexible set of lessons designed by STEM teachers to help others do just that. By inviting students to explore, ask questions of, and critically consider the lack of representation present in STEM, teachers help students apply the skills and processes of science to transform the STEM classroom into a space of brave dialogue, identity self-awareness, and take concrete steps for social justice.

Shifting Our Mindsets and Practices Toward Equity - Focused STEM Instruction with Tia Madkins, Ph.D.

Tia Madkins

Although there is an increasing focus on “equity” in STEM education, it is not usually clear how this term is defined. In this talk, Dr. Tia Madkins focuses on equity from a justice orientation and shares how we can shift our thinking about what it means to teach K-8 mathematics and science using this lens. Dr. Madkins will share ways to engage in equity-focused teaching and learning that are also standards-aligned (NGSS, CCSS) using examples from her own teaching and research experience.

The Value of Reconnecting With Our Pedagogical Commitments with Darryl Yong, Ph.D.

Darryl YongEach of us has a set of moral and ethical values about teaching that help shape what we do in the classroom. These pedagogical commitments, particularly those about justice and equity and what it means to be a teacher, have been shaken after a year like no other. In this talk, Dr. Darryl Yong will help teachers develop a continuing practice of self-reflection to cultivate greater alignment between what they value and what they do in their professional lives. 

How Emergent Bilingual Students Problematize Phenomena Through Translanguaging with Enrique (Henry) Suárez, Ph.D.

Enrique (Henry) SuárezHow might we support emergent bilingual learners to make meaning of the natural world? Policies, research, and common pedagogical practices claim that English fluency is a prerequisite for learning science. In this talk, Dr. Enrique Suárez uses the construct of Translanguaging -- making use of the full linguistic repertoire, including features from multiple languages -- to question that assumption and explores how these students benefit when we allow a range of communication practices. Drawing from studies in formal and informal science learning environments, he will analyze how young emergent bilingual students leverage their translanguaging practices when co-constructing ideas.

Teaching Mathematics with Compassion with Geillan Aly, Ph.D.

Geillan AlyIn this talk, Dr. Geillan Aly will introduce the Compassionate Math Framework, which attempts to address a significant need in mathematics education, namely that learning mathematics is both an emotional and intellectual act. The goal for Compassionate Math is to help teachers work through or around the emotional challenges of learning and teaching math so that their students can be their best mathematical selves. The idea is to bring the affective (emotional) side of learning math to the forefront, a side that is all too often forgotten. This includes thinking about how anxiety and identity affect our efficacy as teachers, especially through the lens of equity and social justice, and how that contributes to limiting our mathematical achievements. In this talk, Dr. Aly will share the Compassionate Math Framework and lead teachers through newly designed reflective exercises to help them tap into the emotional struggles they and their students encounter while learning or teaching mathematics.

Engaging with Social and Political Themes in Computer / Data Science Education with Featuring Sarah Van Wart, Ph.D.

Sarah Van WartEducators are regularly called upon to help students make sense of their technologically mediated worlds. This involves helping students to “think computationally,” write code, and/or gather and analyze data. This also (increasingly) involves helping them consider the broader social and political impacts of these technologies and methods. In this talk, Dr. Sarah Van Wart will describe a few different approaches that she has taken – citizen science, civic advocacy, and app prototyping – to help young people engage with problems that are at the same time technical, social, and political. Dr. Van Wart will also share resources that have been helpful as she has tried to figure out how to balance these themes in her own teaching practice.


2020-2021 Speakers

What is Our Role as Mathematics and Science Teachers in the Pursuit of Social Justice with Kari Kokka, Ph.D.

Social justice (Gutstein, 2006), abolitionist (Bullock & Meiners, 2019; Love, 2019), and antiracist (TODOS, 2020) teaching are current buzzwords amongst educators and the general public. What do these concepts mean for mathematics and science teachers? I will discuss what mathematics and science teachers can do to work toward social justice, including healing-informed social justice pedagogy (Kokka, 2019) and STEM teacher activism (Kokka, 2018). I will draw on my experiences as a teacher activist at Vanguard High School (2001-2011) and my research on Social Justice Mathematics to discuss how these concepts can be operationalized in mathematics and science classrooms.

COVID-19 and Systemic Racism: Creating “A New Normal” for STEM Education with Okhee Lee, Ph.D. and guest Todd Campbell

Okhee LeeThe COVID-19 pandemic offers an unprecedented context to engage all students in societally relevant problems. This presentation proposes an instructional framework that STEM education, by foregrounding justice and capitalizing on new advances in STEM disciplines, could offer solutions to systematic racism. Specifically, our instructional framework leverages data science, computer science, and multidisciplinary convergence of STEM disciplines. By harnessing the affordances of new advances in STEM disciplines to address systemic racism, our instructional framework presents one approach to creating “a new normal” for STEM education.

How You Can Take Part in the Educational Movement for Equity with José Luis Vilson

Jose Vilson

The discussion around equity has become more mainstream in the last few years, but the education field has lagged behind in understanding equity as a core tenet for our work. In this presentation, José Vilson will explore topics around equity, pedagogy, and STEM with an interactive Q&A.

Productive Uncertainty in the Science Classroom with Eve Manz, Ph.D.

Eve ManzUncertainty is central to scientific activity. Scientists explain because they are unsure. They argue with and about evidence because they disagree. And it is increasingly clear that people grapple every day with the uncertainty about how scientific evidence should guide personal and political choices. In this webinar, Dr. Eve Manz will explore the role of uncertainty in STEM activity and share strategies developed with groups of elementary school teachers. These strategies have paved a way to make use of scientific uncertainty to support learning that is purposeful, collective, and conceptually powerful.

Detailing Racialized and Gendered Mechanisms of Mathematics Instruction with Luis Leyva, Ph.D.

Luis LeyvaCalculus courses, in particular, operate as gatekeepers that contribute to racialized and gendered attrition in persistence with mathematics coursework and pursuits in STEM. In this talk, Dr. Luis A. Leyva will unpack instructional mechanisms of inequality as he presents findings from a study of historically marginalized students and their perceptions of racialized and gendered features of calculus instruction. These students reported experiencing stereotyping and a lack of representation in their calculus classrooms and in STEM fields. Together, these experiences shaped students’ reports of instructional mechanisms of inequality or teacher moves that appear to be neutral but actually reinforce racial and gendered inequities. These reported mechanisms marginalize students’ opportunities for 1) participation and instructor support, 2) same-race, same-gender peer support, and 3) feeling a sense of belongingness in STEM. Dr. Leyva will also discuss the implications on teacher practice and provide insights on working towards instructional moves that disrupt racialized and gendered mechanisms.