Amanda Brown is an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Education. Her research focuses on developing innovative forms of professional development that help teachers see and intervene on their own instructional practices, as well as on understanding the rationality underlying secondary mathematics teachers’ decisions in the classroom—with particular focus on understanding how teachers reason about the practice of responding to students’ mathematical contributions. In her time at the University of Michigan, Dr. Brown co-developed a new form of professional development called StoryCircles that leverages the storyboard medium to engage teachers in collective professional experimentation by scripting, visualizing, and discussing various ways a lesson could unfold.
As a former secondary mathematics teacher herself, Dr. Brown recognizes the work of teaching demands the management of complex situations, and that such management is often carried out by practitioners working in isolation. Her research is grounded in the twin beliefs that teachers can benefit from opportunities to interact with and learn from one another in the context of teacher-centered, practice-based professional development and that such interactions provide important opportunities for researchers to study and document teachers’ practical rationality and wisdom.
Dr. Brown serves as the primary investigator on Project Loci, a research-practice partnership involving multiple universities and school-based programs that aims to help educators engage their mathematics students in place-based learning in which students are invited to draw on their varied experiences in the world to ask and pursue natural mathematical questions. The project leverages the StoryCircles approach to support mathematics teachers to explore various ways place-based lessons could unfold and consider collectively how they might overcome challenges they identify when employing place-based learning. The project has also enabled Brown to begin exploring how students’ perceptions of themselves and mathematics shifts with their engagement in place-based learning which centers on students’ lived experiences.
Dr. Brown also serves as a Co-PI, alongside Professor Pat Herbst, on the GeT Support project and as a senior investigator on the ThEMaT 4 Decisions project. GeT Support’s goals is to develop a system of professional support for the improvement of the Geometry for Teachers course that preservice secondary teachers take within mathematics departments. In particular, the project aims to create an inter-institutional support network for instructors of these courses that can support collective stewardship and connection-building across individual instructors. The objective of this network is to improve instructional capacity for geometry in secondary schools. The ThEMaT 4 Decisions project explores the complex decisions mathematics teachers need to make to manage whole class discussions in problem-based lessons and investigates collaborative learning environments, such as StoryCircles, for teachers to develop capacity for such decisions. In that work, Brown has been working collaboratively with others to further develop the StoryCircles process to support teachers learning in, from, and for practice—even during the more recent times of extreme disruption and physical separation from students—by engaging teachers in the collective consideration of how to respond to various kinds of contingencies that can emerge when teachers try to engage students in whole-class discussions within problem-based lessons.
Dr. Brown is a native Michigander with a soft spot for the Tri-County Area, where she was raised and went on to teach and work as a consultant. She has a house full of dogs and kids, and enjoys traveling with her family to northern Michigan in her free time.
Milewski, A. & Strickland, S. (2020). Linguistics and Education.
Herbst, P., Ko, I., & Milewski, A. (2020). Research in Mathematics Education, 1-21.
Milewski, A.M., Frohardt, D. (2020). Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching Pre-K–12, 113(5). 397-403.
"Technology tools in mathematics teacher learning: How might technological advances transform the practice of mathematics teacher education?"
Herbst, P., Chazan, D., & Milewski, A. (2019). In O. Chapman, S. Llinares, & et al. (Eds), International Handbook of Mathematics Teacher Education.
"Scale, Perspective, and Natural Mathematical Questions: Rethinking representations of the world in real-life problems"
Dimmel, J.K., & Milewski, A.M. (2019). Accepted for publication in For the Learning of Mathematics, November 2019.
"The role of virtual spaces for professional growth: Teachers’ engagement in virtual professional experimentation."
Milewski, A., Herbst, P., Bardelli, E., Hetrick, C. (2018). Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. 26(1), 103-126
"(Toward) Developing a common language for describing instructional practices of responding: A teacher-generated framework."
Milewski, A., Strickland, S. (2016). Mathematics Teacher Educator.
"Exploring teachers’ practices of responding.”
PhD dissertation. Milewski, A. (2012). Michigan State University.
"Explorations with Sketchpad in Topogeometry”
Hawkins, A. and Sinclair, N. (2008). International Journal of Computers of Mathematical Learning 13 (1), 71 - 82.
"Working collectively to design online teacher education curriculum: How do teacher educators manage to do it?"
Milewski, A., Gürsel, U., Herbst, P. (2017). Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the PME-NA, October 2017. Indianapolis, Indiana.
"Directing focus and enabling inquiry with representations of practice: Written cases, storyboards, and teacher education."
Herbst, P., Boileau, N., Clark, L., Milewski, A., Chieu, V., Gürsel, U., Chazan, D. (2017). Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the PME-NA, October 2017. Indianapolis, Indiana.
"What StoryCircles can do for mathematics teaching and teacher education?"
Herbst, P. & Milewski, A. (2018). In R. Zazkis & P. Herbst (Eds) Mathematical Dialogue: Scripting approaches in mathematics education research and practice. Springer Publications.
"Technology mediated mathematics teacher development: Research on digital pedagogies of practice."
Herbst, P., Chazan, D., Chieu, V., Milewski, A., Kosko, K., Aaron, W. (2016). In M. Niess, S. Driskell, & K. Hollebrands (Eds) Handbook of Research on Transforming Mathematics Teacher Education in the Digital Age. IGI Global.
"When mathematics teachers consider acting on behalf of the discipline, what assumption do they make?"
Milewski, A., Erickson, A., Herbst, P., Dimmel, J. (2015). Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Meeting of the PME-NA, October 2015. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University.
"What is mathematical literacy? Exploring the relationship between literacy and content learning in middle and high school mathematics."
Star, J., Strickland, S., & Hawkins, A.M. (2008) In Conley, Meeting the Challenges of Adolescent Literacy: Research We Have, Research We Need. New York: Guilford Publications.