Beth Herbel-Eisenmann

A former junior high mathematics teacher, I am currently Professor of Mathematics Education at MSU, where I have had leadership roles and have taught in the elementary and secondary teacher preparation programs and in the PhD Program in Mathematics Education.  I mostly draw on ideas from sociolinguistics and discourse literatures to research written curriculum and classroom discourse practices as well as the professional development of secondary mathematics teachers. I am especially interested in issues of equity that concern authority, positioning, and voice in mathematics classrooms and professional development.

While in graduate school, I worked for CMP and studied how teachers enacted CMP and how students came to understand algebra based on their experiences with CMP.  I have spent most of my academic career working in partnership with secondary mathematics teachers who have used action research to improve their discourse practices and to better support students’ opportunities to learn. In two of my partnerships, some of the collaborating teacher-researchers have used CMP and I have seen what a difference good materials can make to the facilitation of classroom discussions. We have collaboratively presented findings at professional conferences and in writing. One edited volume that came from my first long-term collaboration, Promoting purposeful discourse: Teacher research in mathematics classrooms, was published by NCTM in 2009.  These long-term relationships are extremely influential to my practice as a mathematics teacher educator and I am very fortunate to work with dedicated teachers from whom I have learned a lot!  These experiences also informed my design work co-authoring professional development (PD) materials, titled Mathematics Discourse in Secondary Classrooms (MDISC): A practice-based multimedia resource for professional learning, which were published by Math Solutions in 2017 and are written for facilitators interested in collaborating with secondary teachers to become more purposeful about their classroom discourse.