Welcome to Carolyn Kieran’s webpage



Carolyn KIERAN


Description : untitled

Professor Emerita

Université du Québec à Montréal



Professional Address:                             

Département de mathématiques

Université du Québec à Montréal

Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-Ville

Montréal (Québec) H3C 3P8


Telephone: (514) 987-3000, ext. 7793# (office)

Fax: (514) 987-8935





I joined the Mathematics Department of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in 1983, where I was named Full Professor, specializing in mathematics education, in 1991. Prior to 1983, I taught high school and college mathematics and also served as mathematics consultant for a school board. I hold a B.A. from Marianopolis College, a B.Ed. from Université de Montréal, an M.T.M. from Concordia University, and a Ph.D. from McGill University.


My research is devoted to the study of algebra teaching and learning, and more recently early algebra at the primary school level. Drawing on the Anthropological Theory of Didactics developed by Chevallard, I envision algebra learning as being situated in the overlapping interfaces of technique and theory. School algebra has typically been viewed as a symbol-laden, technique-oriented domain with little space for the conceptual/theoretical. My interest lies in emphasizing both the conceptual and the technical dimensions of algebra, in encouraging the design of tasks that allow students to become aware of the conceptual aspects of algebra while engaging in the technical, and in investigating the ways in which the technical and the conceptual can co-emerge in algebra learning. Computing technology, in particular that of Computer Algebra Systems (CAS), is a central component of some of my research, as these tools have the potential to spark student questioning of algebraic phenomena, as well as provide for novel approaches to algebra learning. In order to explore the nature of teaching practices that support the beneficial role that technology can play in algebra learning, my research also involves collaborative work with classroom teachers of mathematics. My research in early algebra centers on the articulation between the process of generalizing and that of seeing structure in arithmetic expressions.


Prior to my retirement, I was head of the research group, Algebra in Partnership with Technology in Education (APTE). Our last multi-year research programme was titled: “Teachers practice vis-à-vis the technical/theoretical dialectic in mathematics learning within Computer Algebra System (CAS) environments.” Over the past 35 years, I have been principal investigator, or co-investigator, of 27 funded projects. The results of this research have been published in over 200 articles and book chapters, and have also been the subject of numerous presentations, key-note lectures, and professional development sessions. Among the most cited of my publications have been the invited chapters on algebra in the four volumes: Handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (1992); 8th International Congress on Mathematical Education: Selected Lectures (1996); The future of the teaching and learning of algebra: The 12th ICMI study (2004); and Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (2007). (See Publications for a selection of my publications.)


My contributions to the international mathematics education research community include serving as Chair of the ICMI Awards Committee (2011-2016) and as President of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) for a three-year term, being named to the Mathematics Learning Study committee and serving as one of the authors of the publication that was produced by this committee: Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics, and serving as member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for a three-year term. Even though I officially retired in September 2008, I continue to act as consultant on several international research projects and to publish books and research articles. In 2010 the Université du Québec à Montréal honored my career accomplishments with the title of Professor Emerita.



October 26, 2018