In this monthly column, we speak with a notable member of the Western Canadian mathematics education community about their work and their perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Gale Russell of the University of Regina.
Gale Russell is a Saskatchewanian through and through. She was born and grew up in Saskatoon, and after completing a B.Sc. (Honours) in Mathematics and a B.Ed. (Great Distinction) at the University of Saskatchewan, she began teaching in the community of Raymore. There, she taught all of the secondary level mathematics courses as well as some Arts Education classes. Gale was also a representative to the local teachers’ association, ran a successful drama club, held regular meetings of a calculus club, and was an on call “jewelry coach,” while also continuing to pursue her other passion – playing the bagpipe. During her time in Raymore, Gale also became involved in being a pilot teacher of the then-renewed high school mathematics curricula (the former Math 10, 20, A30, B30 C30), and was later regularly seconded by the Ministry of Education to be an implementation leader around the province for those curricula. After six years in Raymore, Gale moved to Rosetown, where she taught secondary mathematics while continuing her other activities at the school level and for the Ministry, and playing in a pipe band.
After two years and one month in Rosetown, Gale was made the first full-time permanent Educational Consultant for K-12 Mathematics at the Ministry of Education in Regina. In this role, Gale was actively involved in facilitating professional development throughout the province, in reviewing resources, in curriculum framework renewal with the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP), and in writing the most recent mathematics curricula. Also during this time, Gale obtained her M.Ed. from the University of Regina, focusing her research on teachers’ and students’ conceptions about zero. After 11 years and 11 months at the Ministry, Gale left to pursue her PhD in Education at the University of Saskatchewan, focusing her research on the kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing valued within mathematics and the teaching and learning of mathematics. Only one day ago, Gale successfully defended her dissertation on this topic, thereby completing all of the requirements for her PhD. For the past two years (and continuing onward), Gale has been working in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina as an Assistant Professor of Secondary Mathematics Education. She continues to play her bagpipes and has two small dogs, Euclid and Chevy.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to have this conversation during this busy time of the year! Could you talk a little bit about the courses are you currently (or have just finished) teaching at the University of Regina? Continue reading