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Cathy Seeley    

Former Senior Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, Mathematics Teacher & Author

Cathy Seeley has been a mathematics teacher, K-12 district coordinator and K-12 State Director of Mathematics for Texas. From 1999 to 2001 she taught mathematics (in French) as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. Dr. Seeley served as President of NCTM from 2004-2006.

She is author of several books, including two 2016 titles from ASCD: Making Sense of Math (for teachers) and Building a Math-Positive Culture (for leaders). Her other recent books are Faster Isn’t Smarter—Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century (2009/2015) and Smarter Than We Think—More Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century (2014).

Dr. Seeley is retired as a Senior Fellow at the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas, but continues to stay busy as a speaker, writer, and consultant on improving mathematics teaching and learning at the local, state, and national level.

Speech Topics


Title: “Mathematical Habits of Mind—Practices, Processes, and More”

Description: For more than two decades NCTM, the National Research Council, and now the Common Core have called for students to learn mathematical processes, proficiency, and practices. What Mathematical Habits of Instruction can help all students develop these powerful Mathematical Habits of Mind--thinking, reasoning, sense-making and problem solving?

Title: Visibly and Invisibly Helping Every Teacher Help Every Student Achieve

Description: Our educational system won’t be a success until and unless we embrace the notion that every single student deserves the opportunity to become a powerful mathematical thinker. Let’s think together about the strategies and actions it takes for that to happen and the role of leaders in initiating, nurturing, supporting, and sustaining changes that will last over time.

Title: “Math is Supposed to Make Sense!”

Description: Helping students develop mathematical habits of mind may be the most important thing we do. How can every student learn to build numerical, spatial, logical reasoning? Let’s help them expect math to make sense—even demand that it make sense—both what they learn and what they and others do. Let’s help them see that Math is Supposed to Make Sense!

Title: “The Answer Still Matters . . . Eventually”

Description: In effective classrooms today, teachers use engaging problems to help studentsdevelop mathematical thinking and learn mathematical skills. Sometimes we even say, ‘It’s not the answer that matters, it’s the process.’ But the answer does matter—we just need to find ways to slow down the race to answers and use the journey as a vehicle for learning.

Title: “The Right Kind of Struggling: Helping All Students Become Mathematical Thinkers”

Description: Having students struggle is one of teachers’ biggest challenges in implementing the mathematical thinking described in the Practices. Yet we know that engaging in constructive struggles is essential to learning. How can we help teachers get past their fear of students giving up and build student learning on working productively through struggling?

Title: “Smarter Than We Think: Helping Every Student Reach Their Potential”

Description: We continue to learn more about how students learn and how all students can get smarter in mathematics. What can a leader do to help teachers evaluate--and potentially adjust--their goals, expectations, teaching strategies, and classroom organizational structures toward success for all students?

Title: “Clueless—Moving beyond tricks, recipes, clues, and keys to develop mathematical thinking”

Description: The CCSSM offer a renewed opportunity to develop mathematical habits of mind as called for by NCTM and others over 25 years of mathematics standards. How can we use this opportunity to support teachers in moving beyond superficial strategies like having students translate words and learn tricks for solving problems? How can teachers help every student develop quantitative skills, learn to think mathematically, and assume responsibility for their learning?

Title: “Politics, Potholes, and Possibilities: Being an effective mathematics leader in a new era”

Description: The momentum from two decades of mathematics improvement is picking up speed fast. How can mathematics education leaders play a role in guiding this work to keep it from turning into a runaway train? We’ll discuss national, state, and local changes and what they mean for every mathematics education leader.

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