Marty Simon is Professor of Mathematics Education at New York University. His research focuses on understanding mathematics conceptual learning, particularly the process by which students develop mathematical concepts through their activity in the context of a series of mathematical tasks. His current NSF-funded project combines basic research in this area with research on a measurement-based approach to developing fraction and ratio concepts. Marty’s earlier research focused on the development of mathematics teachers as they learn to teach mathematics with a conceptual focus.

Simon M. A. (1995) Reconstructing mathematics pedagogy from a constructivist perspective. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 26(2): 114–145. https://cepa.info/3671

Constructivist theory has been prominent in recent research on mathematics learning and has provided a basis for recent mathematics education reform efforts. Although constructivism has the potential to inform changes in mathematics teaching, it offers no particular vision of how mathematics should be taught; models of teaching based on constructivism are needed. Data are presented from a whole-class, constructivist teaching experiment in which problems of teaching practice required the teacher/researcher to explore the pedagogical implications of his theoretical (constructivist) perspectives. The analysis of the data led to the development of a model of teacher decision making with respect to mathematical tasks. Central to this model is the creative tension between the teacher’s goals with regard to student learning and his responsibility to be sensitive and responsive to the mathematical thinking of the students.

Simon M. A. (2014) Models of Students’ Mathematics and their Relationship to Mathematics Pedagogy. Constructivist Foundations 9(3): 348–350. https://constructivist.info/9/3/348

Open peer commentary on the article “Constructivist Model Building: Empirical Examples From Mathematics Education” by Catherine Ulrich, Erik S. Tillema, Amy J. Hackenberg & Anderson Norton. Upshot: I comment on the nature and exemplification of second-order models in Ulrich et. al. I discuss what I see as the theoretical gap between second-order models and mathematics pedagogy. Finally, I share work we are doing to contribute towards filling that theoretical gap.

Simon M. A. & Schifter D. (1991) Towards a constructivist perspective: An intervention study of mathematics teacher development. Educational Studies in Mathematics 22: 309–331.

A constructivist perspective provided the basis for a four stage intervention with teachers. The intervention which combined intensive summer courses with ongoing support in the classroom was designed to stimulate teachers’ development of a constructivist view of learning to serve as a basis for their instructional decision-making. Impact of the intervention was studied through analysis of teachers’ writings and the use of an interview-based instrument developed by the researchers. The results indicated that this intervention had an important effect on teachers’ beliefs about learning which in turn affected the decisions that they made in the classroom.