Research Experiences for Teachers

Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen
Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen

Emerge Faculty Fellow: Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen

The goal of the proposed project is to enhance student experience in researching mathematics and mathematics teaching by providing opportunities for pre-service teachers. Mathematics content knowledge has been an issue for many teacher candidates: they actually lack facility in the very subject they have been hired to teach. This project is designed to improve pre-service teachers’ content knowledge through engaging in research that requires the acquisition of new content skills. It is essential that pre-service teachers enter the classroom with a strong content knowledge background. Helping pre-service teachers develop a deeper understanding of mathematics through research is essential if they are going to be effective teachers. Many teacher candidates have expressed dissatisfaction with the UWF Department of Teacher Education and Educational Leadership’s mathematics methods course because they lack the content knowledge to engage in discussions about the method of teaching. After all, one cannot begin to discuss teaching methods until one has a firm grasp of the content to be taught. This project aims to create an experiential learning environment where future teachers can develop a stronger understanding of mathematics through working on an inquiry-based research project based on a mathematics concept that they want to master.

     The project aligns with the Emerge High Impact Goals because it will provide students with experiential learning activities that support teacher candidates to be successful professionals in 21st Century classrooms. The proposed augmented experiential learning component will create a transformative learning experience designed to increase student engagement and support student success. Students will identify an area (or a concept) of mathematics that they want to research and present their ideas to classmates in informal forums, receiving immediate peer and faculty feedback that will help them improve understanding of mathematical concepts that they previously learned. The experience creates further impact for undergraduates to go beyond what they are expected to accomplish during the course of the class. According to Kuh (2008), high impact practices share a number of common characteristics:

  1. They are effortful,
  2. They help students build substantive relationships,
  3. They help student engage across differences,
  4. They provide students with rich feedback,
  5. They help students apply and test what they are learning in new situations, and
  6. They provide opportunities for student to reflect on the person they are becoming.

The project, Enhancing Mathematics Skills for Future Teachers, will create high impact learning because students are researching mathematics, which requires them to:

  1. Invest their time and efforts in an academic program,
  2. Apply the mathematical knowledge they have learned to gain a deeper understanding about the mathematics that they are going to teach, and
  3. Present their work to classmates and teachers to receive immediate feedback that enables them to evaluate and test what they are learning from a new perspective.

Engaging in research will empower pre-service middle- and high-school teachers to improve their content knowledge while building on existing skills.

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Utilized

  • Faculty/Student Research

For more information, please contact Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen at or 850–857–6461.