Bio

In the following, I would like to introduce myself and provide an overview of my academic profile—distinguishing in particular between teaching and research. In 2001, I received my master’s degree in mathematics education at Agder University College (now the University of Agder). Shortly after this, I got the opportunity to start working on a doctoral degree in mathematics education at Telemark Educational Research (Telemarksforsking-Notodden). I defended my doctoral thesis (a doctor philos) at the University of Bergen in April 2006. My thesis was entitled “Mathematics in everyday life: A study of Norwegian teachers’ beliefs and actions concerning the connection with mathematics and everyday life”.

Before I started on my doctoral degree, I had some teaching experience in lower and upper secondary school (August 2001 to January 2002). Towards the end of my stay at Telemark Educational Research—while I was waiting for the approval to defend my thesis—I worked as a researcher. In the Fall of 2005, I was approached by the University of Stavanger and offered a position there. Since the Spring of 2006, I have had tenured positions in mathematics education at the University of Stavanger. From January 2006 to July 2013, I was employed by the Department of Early Childhood Education. From August 2013, I switched to the Department of Education and Sports Science—also at the University of Stavanger. In July 2016, I was promoted to full professor in mathematics education.

Teaching profile

From my own education, which might be described in Dan Lortie’s terms as an “apprenticeship of observation”, I experienced higher education very much through lectures. The role of the lecturer was normally to fill up numerous blackboards with his or her notes, and my role was to copy these notes. This corresponds well with what Anna Sfard describes as “the metaphor of acquisition”. Most of my studies can be described with this metaphor. When I entered the master program in mathematics education, this changed dramatically. All of a sudden, I was expected to become a more central participant in the professional discourse. Gradually, I observed myself moving from being a peripheral to a more central participant in the mathematics education discourse, and I enjoyed that!

During my first years at the University of Stavanger, I had the main responsibility for all the mathematics teaching at the Department of Early Childhood Education. For the first two years, I mostly taught the mathematics courses in the bachelor program for prospective kindergarten teachers, and I was mainly presenting traditional lectures. I loved to lecture—and, to a certain extent, I still do—and my students appreciated my lectures too. Like in my own days as a student, however, my approach to teaching also evolved towards what might be described as a metaphor of participation rather than acquisition. This shift took place at the same time that my colleagues at the Department of Education and Sports Science were attempting to start a master program in mathematics education, and I got involved in that. Before they managed to employ a Professor in mathematics education (Raymond Bjuland), I got the sole responsibility for teaching the first group of master students. From then on, I have been strongly involved in this master program. When I teach master and PhD students, my aim is to help them gradually moving from peripheral to more central participants in the mathematics education discourse. I enjoy this opportunity to combine my research interests and my love for teaching and co-learning. After I started teaching the master program in mathematics education, I also got involved in the master program in early childhood education—which was initiated at about the same time—and I was responsible for a course in mathematics and science education in that master program as well. During my years at the Department of Early Childhood Education, I was also involved in the development and teaching of a PhD course called “Learning cultures in a kindergarten context”.

After I had a sabbatical year in 2011–2012, most of my teaching has been on master and PhD level. I have taught both of the courses on the learning and teaching of mathematics in the master program—these courses are now called “Mathematical knowledge for teaching” and “Teaching quality in mathematics”—and I have also taught the course on history of mathematics in our master programs for a couple of years. When I switched to the Department of Education and Sports Science in 2013, I taught a small part of the Mathematics 1 course in our bachelor program for prospective teachers (GLU 5–10), but, aside from this, I have mostly taught and supervised master and PhD students since then. This includes teaching of some parts of the course in research methods for master students.

In connection with our NORHED project on “Improving quality and capacity of mathematics teacher education in Malawi”, I have been teaching a master course on the history of mathematics, and I have also been involved in the teaching of a PhD course on theories in mathematics education.

Since the beginning of our master program in mathematics education, I have been strongly involved in supervising master students. I have also supervised master students who focused on mathematics in their thesis at the master program in early childhood education. So far, I have supervised 19 master students to completion of their master thesis. I have supervised (as co-supervisor) one PhD student to completion and currently supervise five PhD students—two at the University of Stavanger and three at the University of Malawi.

Research profile

My research mainly concentrates on mathematics teaching and developing mathematics teachers. I consider mathematics teaching to be a professional practice that involves everything teachers do to help students learn. Ever since I was a doctoral student, the focus of my research has been on the complexities involved in the work of teaching mathematics, the attributes that influence this work—mainly teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, but also their identity and mathematical communication—and the development of mathematics teachers, both pre-service and in-service. This connection between attributes of mathematics teachers and their conduct of the work of teaching mathematics has continued to interest me till this day, but the my conceptualization of the core aspects involved as well as theoretical and methodological approaches to study this have developed quite significantly since I finished my PhD. The following four areas have developed as focus areas in my research:

  1. Mathematics teacher beliefs: My PhD thesis had a focus on teacher beliefs, and I have continued to investigate aspects of mathematics teachers’ beliefs—including their beliefs about knowledge needed for teaching mathematics (epistemic beliefs).
  2. Mathematical knowledge for teaching: This includes cross-cultural perspectives on the knowledge needed to teach mathematics, conceptualization of this knowledge, development, adaptation and use of measures of such knowledge.
  3. The work of teaching mathematics: I have been investigating the work of teaching mathematics with a particular focus on the mathematical tasks of teaching mathematics, and I have also initiated new investigations of the mathematical work of teaching in kindergarten.
  4. Development of mathematics teachers: This line of research includes the development of knowledge for teaching mathematics, but it also relates to the development of mathematics teacher identity among pre-service mathematics teachers. This line of research includes focus on history of mathematics and use of Lesson Study initial teacher education.

When I was working on my PhD, I spent some time at UCLA and the Lesson Lab in Santa Monica, where Jim Stigler and his colleagues coordinated their international studies of mathematics teaching (most notably, the TIMSS 1999 Video Study). This trip and collaborative work was made possible by Otto B. Bekken—who served as my supervisor since my master level, and who had a significant influence on the early stages of my career as a researcher. The cross-cultural perspectives on mathematics teachers’ practice of Stigler and colleagues have continued to influence my own research, and I have continued to include such perspectives in my later research on mathematical knowledge for teaching. Before my research focus shifted towards the knowledge needed for teaching mathematics, I continued to investigate issues related to mathematics teachers’ beliefs. This was the focus of my PhD thesis, and it is a line of research that I am still focusing on. My research on mathematics teachers’ beliefs have been influenced by personal acquaintance and communication with some of the major international researchers in this area of research, like: Douglas McLeod, Randolph Philipp, Keith Leatham, Markku Hannula, and Jeppe Skott.

In 2007, my interest in mathematical knowledge for teaching was ignited when Geoffrey Phelps, who was then one of the core members in the Learning Mathematics for Teaching project (LMT) at the University of Michigan, visited us at the University of Stavanger and gave an introductory course to mathematical knowledge for teaching and the LMT measures. The mathematics group in Stavanger formed a research group after that, and I was appointed leader of the group. We decided to start working on translating, adapting and using LMT measures (also referred to as mathematical knowledge for teaching, MKT, measures) in a Norwegian context. Through this work, our collaboration with the research group around Deborah Ball started to develop—and is continuing to this date.

In 2008 and 2009, I started to communicate with some young researchers from different countries, who were also interested in mathematical knowledge for teaching. At the 2009 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, we presented in a joint symposium, chaired by Deborah Ball. Aside from me and my colleagues, the following researchers participated in this symposium: Sean Delaney (Ireland), Minsung Kwon (South Korea), Dicky Ng (Indonesia) and Yaa Cole (Ghana). I have continued to collaborate with many of these researchers since then, and in 2012, we published a joint special issue in ZDM on mathematical knowledge for teaching—in collaboration with researchers involved in the TEDS-M project.

Initially, I approached the field of mathematical knowledge for teaching with a critical mind, but at the same time, I found the framework as well as the measures to be very interesting. Together with colleagues in Stavanger and abroad, I started investigating issues related to translation, adaptation and use of mathematical knowledge for teaching measures in different countries. Eventually, I have also become gradually more involved in other aspects concerning research on mathematical knowledge for teaching. In latter years, I have become particularly interested in the work of teaching mathematics. In this respect, I adhere to the view of Deborah Ball and her colleagues when they regard teaching mathematics as a professional practice and investigate it with a conceptual analytical approach. In particular, I have become interested in the mathematical tasks of teaching mathematics. In recent years, I have investigated the work of teaching mathematics and the mathematical tasks of teaching embedded in this work from different theoretical perspectives—including Anna Sfard’s theory of thinking as communicating.

In addition to these interests in mathematical knowledge for teaching and the work of teaching mathematics, I have developed an increasing interest in the education and development of mathematics teachers. This part of my research includes perspectives related to developing mathematics teacher identity, and developing proficiency in the work of teaching mathematics through Lesson Study. I have had this interest in Lesson Study for more than ten years—since I got to know Jim Stigler and his work when I was a doctoral student—and I have approached this field with renewed interest in the last few years through my participation in the Teachers as Students (TasS) project. The TasS project was designed as a time-lagged design experiment, where we introduced student teachers to Lesson Study as part of their supervised field practice. Although the TasS project, which was sponsored by the Norwegian Research Council, has now been completed, I continue investigating Lesson Study in cooperation with my colleagues at the University of Stavanger.

I have authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. My co-authors have mostly been colleagues from my research group at the University of Stavanger (most notably, Raymond Bjuland, Arne Jakobsen and Janne Fauskanger), but I have also co-authored journal articles with international colleagues like Uffe Jankvist (Aarhus University, Denmark), Dicky Ng (then Utah State University, USA), Yvonne Lai (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA), Mark Hoover and Deborah Ball (University of Michigan, USA).

I also have experience from being co-leader of topic working group 19 at the Congress of European Research in Mathematics Education (CERME) in 2015 and 2017, and I am a member of the International Program Committee (IPC) for the Third ERME Topic Conference on Mathematics Teacher Education in Berlin, October 5–7, 2016. Since 2010, I have been a permanent member of the editorial board in the international journal The Mathematics Enthusiast (previously known as The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast), and I am frequently used as reviewer by international journals in mathematics education and education (e.g., Journal of Curriculum Studies, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, and ZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics Education). I have served as guest editor for three special issues in the following journals: International Journal of Early Childhood, Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, and The Mathematics Enthusiast.