Mathematicians as Professors: Narrative Accounts of Their Teaching Experiences and Conceptions of Teaching




Lambert, Elizabeth H.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Mathematics has a reputation as a frustrating and complex field, and all undergraduates must take at least one mathematics course to graduate. Since mathematics is mandatory, the teaching involved needs to accommodate students with varying mathematical success. This study aims to document and analyze mathematicians recognized for their teaching as identified by awards at the university level or higher by exploring their journey toward recognition and their conceptions of teaching. To capture these professors’ journeys and conceptions, a semi-structured interview solicited their definition of quality teaching and their self-identified significant events that helped form their conceptions of teaching. The five participants all had student centered definitions as well as a focus on selecting appropriate tasks and caring about students. They also focused on students’ dispositions toward mathematics as well as their own dispositions impact on students. All the participants featured reflecting on past events as their most frequent feature of significant stories. They also noted the importance of mentoring or role models as examples to reflect on. These findings indicate a need to encourage faculty to reflect on their own teaching as a significant way to develop their conceptions of teaching. Bringing together experienced and recent professors to focus on reflecting about their teaching could help recent professors formalize their conceptions about teaching while also learning for the experiences of all present.



Higher education, Mathematics professors, Teaching, Narratives


Lambert, E. H. (2022). <i>Mathematicians as professors: Narrative accounts of their teaching experiences and conceptions of teaching</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI