Yasmine Abtahi
 (Principal Investigator) 

2017-04-11 15.43.44.jpg

Dr. Yasmine Abtahi is a Full Professor of Mathematics Education in the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. She began her career as a professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, in 2011. In her PhD study (2013-2016), she studied and criticised aspects of the socio-cultural historical view of Vygotsky on signs, tools and the Zone of Proximal Development, in the context of the teaching and learning of mathematics.

In her current research, Yasmine focuses on a critical exploration of the philosophical and epistemological underpinnings of social, historical, and cultural (and intercultural) studies in the field of mathematics education. She investigates if and how the domination of a certain form of mathematical knowledge – as can be seen in their similarities among mathematics curricula around the world – privileges the domination of ways of knowing (unintentionally?) privileges and dominates certain cultures over the others, leading to (unwanted?) oppression and discrimination. In other words, by ignoring the diverse range of ways of knowing that exists in the world, students’ abilities to act, interact and learn could diminished, thus propagating multiple injustices.

This SSRCH funded project is immensely important to her, as it gives voices to students and their parents of diverse cultures as well as to the teachers. Participants will be involved in mutual intercultural dialogues, as a possible opportunity to notice and further reflect on what might be culturally “unfamiliar”, in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

 Richard Barwell


Professor Barwell began his career at the University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, where he earned a PhD in education.  In 2006, he joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa and is currently a full professor and Dean.  He has served on a number of committees and held several positions within the Faculty, including Director of Graduate Studies (Anglophone Sector) from 2012 to 2016.

His research focuses on mathematics education, with particular interest in the role of language in teaching and learning mathematics. This interest first arose prior to his university career, when he taught mathematics in the United Kingdom and Pakistan. Recently, he has studied how math education can address climate change.

 Ruth Kane


Dr. Ruth Kane is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa where she served as Director of Teacher Education at the University of Ottawa from 2006 – 2011. Prior to moving to Canada in 2006 Ruth Kane served as Director of Teacher Education at Otago University (New Zealand) and Professor of Secondary Education at Massey University (New Zealand). Her research interests lie in the development and evaluation of preservice and inservice teacher education programs including the induction of beginning teachers, teacher professional learning through collaborative inquiry and the preparation of teachers for urban schools.


Dr. Kane has directed three national research projects in New Zealand: Initial teacher Education; The Preparation and Induction of Beginning Secondary Teachers; and, The Status of Teachers and Teaching prior to coming to Canada. Since coming to Canada she has been principal investigator on a number of province-wide evaluations for the Ontario Ministry of Education including the evaluation of the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) and evaluations of the Early Primary Collaborative Inquiry (EPCI) and the Student Work Study (SWST) initiatives. Dr. Kane supports a number of graduate students whose fields of inquiry include teacher education, beginning teacher induction, preparing teachers for urban high schools and teacher professional learning. Before entering teacher education Dr Kane was a secondary teacher in New Zealand and Australia, including teaching on indigenous communities in the far north of Queensland, Australia.

 Christine Suurtamm



Fatima Assaf
(Research Assistant) 

Dr. Christine Suurtamm is a Full Professor of Mathematics Education and teaches in the areas of mathematics education, assessment and qualitative research. Her research focuses on the complexity of teachers' classroom practice. She is particularly interested in teachers' formative assessment practices as these are opportunities of attending and responding to students' mathematical thinking. Dr. Suurtamm has been the lead researcher on several Ontario Ministry of Education large-scale projects to examine mathematics teaching and learning. She is also Director of the Pi Lab, a research facility supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. She was the Canadian representative on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Board of Directors, the Co-Chair of the Ontario Ministry of Education Early Math Expert Panel, and Co-Chair of several international panels on assessment in mathematics education. She is also the recipient of several teaching and research awards including Excellence in Teaching, the Capital Educator's Award and the University of Ottawa Excellence in Education Award.

Fatima Assaf completed her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Evaluation at the University of Ottawa in 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Christine Suurtamm. In 2014, she obtained a Master of Arts in Second Language Education. Her MA research explored how multilingual children express their mathematical reasoning during collaborative problem-solving. Her Ph.D. research was designed to build on the findings of her MA thesis to form an in-depth description and understanding of multilingual learners' mathematical learning experiences and meaning-making in a Canadian educational setting. Her Ph.D. research was based on a 7-month ethnographic study, and the work was built on a sociocultural framework. The results of the study revealed that multilingual students’ mathematics experiences were shaped by their previous experiences, their interactions with one another, their use of language, and their teacher’s pedagogical moves that promoted deep learning of mathematics and the development of students’ identities. Fatima was also the coordinator of the mathematics education research unit (MERU) at the University of Ottawa for 4 years, and worked as a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba. 

Dionysia Pitsili Chatzi 
(Research Assistant) 

dionysia's picture.png

Dionysia Pitsili-Chatzi is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, working under the supervision of Professor Richard Barwell. Dionysia is interested in the sociopolitical aspects of mathematics and mathematics education. Her thesis focuses on the political aspects of mathematics in the context of undergraduate mathematics courses. Before moving to Canada, Dionysia obtained her masters in “Didactics and Methodology of Mathematics” from the University of Athens in Greece and her masters thesis focused on the discursive construction of mathematical ability. Parallel to and in-between her studies, Dionysia has also been working as a mathematics and Greek-language teacher and tutor in Greece, Egypt, and Canada.

Awa Mbodje

(Research Assistant)

Awa Mbodje est présentement étudiante boursière à la Maîtrise (M.A.) de la faculté d’éducation de l’Université d’Ottawa (uOttawa). Sous la direction du professeur titulaire Richard Barwell, son sujet de thèse porte sur l’apprentissage des mathématiques intégrant l’outil informatique pour des élèves d’origine africaine immigrants récents au Canada. Elle a à son actif un certain nombre de contrats d’assistante d'enseignement et d'assistante de recherche avec uOttawa. Après un bref passage à l’Université de Montréal (Canada) et après avoir suivi la formation initiale complète à l’enseignement à uOttawa, elle est EAO-Enseignante Agrée de l’Ontario (Canada) depuis peu. Cependant, ses premiers pas dans l’enseignement débutent, à la suite de l’obtention de son diplôme d’ingénieur en informatique à l’université Mouloud Mammeri de Tizi-Ouzou (Algérie), comme chargée de cours informatique à temps partiel dans deux écoles de formation professionnelle de Dakar (Sénégal), autorisée par décision ministérielle, emploi qu’elle cumulât pendant un certain temps avec son poste d’analyste informatique à la Ville de Dakar. Son intérêt pour la population migrante remonte au temps où elle occupât le poste de ‘EDP-Registration Assistant’ à la Représentation régionale de l’U.N.H.C.R (Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés) à Dakar. C'est donc tout naturellement que son projet de recherche consacre une part entière à cette population relativement à la didactique des mathématiques.