Since AIMS grew out of efforts by FPU faculty in the 1980s the two entities have been closely tied together. This will remain the same in the future, in fact even more closely linked than ever before. All the professors in GMSFPU will also be spending time at the Center. And with the focus of the Center on translating research discoveries, the professors will be leading a variety of translation projects in their fields of interest and expertise.
What this will mean for the students in GMSFPU is that they will be studying closely with active researchers and professors who have the ability and expertise to run teaching experiments, and to design, validate, and replicate accurate methodological models for teacher research. The vision we are coming to hold for our faculty is that they, who have all had extensive experience in designing and delivering professional development workshops, will transition into conducting a different variety of research than we have been known for in the past.
This will allow for our students, most of which are full-time classroom teachers, to work closely with AIMS Center personnel to design, implement, and analyze their own research projects in their classrooms. These students of GMSFPU will become teacher/researchers with opportunities to present their findings in colloquia run on campus, and at various regional and national conferences. It is our goal to work at understanding just how the knowledge of how children form their own concepts and understandings can be translated into practical classroom experiences that professional teachers can implement with confidence. We want to see Science and Math teachers’ classroom practices arcing toward these sorts of understandings and positive behaviors. The very nature of our students’ Master’s Theses, and in the future (hopefully) doctoral work, will be ratcheted up in intensity.
In my continuing posts I will describe in even greater detail our vision for the program of study we expect our students to pursue, how that program will interface with the AIMS Center, the expected benefits of this collaborative work, and visions of where we expect to see our students going when they complete their studies with us here at Graduate Math/Science @ FPU and the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education.