Nicole Fonger


Nicole Fonger

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Organizer of:


Across all of my research I seek to better understand students’ meaningful learning of mathematics and the nature of support for that learning. I focus on linking research and practice to support and understand students’ meaningful algebra learning in urban public high schools. I network theories to better understand complex phenomena of teaching and learning mathematics in city school classrooms.

As a community-engaged researcher, I seek to build meaningful partnerships with school and community stakeholders with a focus on supporting students’ learning of algebra in urban public schools, classrooms, and teacher- student relationships. Please reach out if you’re interested in collaborating!

The three main strands and related guiding questions of my scholarship are: 1) meaningful learning, 2) learning and teaching trajectories, and 3) linking research, practice, and place.

  1. Meaningful Learning Strand. I study how students learn algebra and algebraic thinking in meaningful ways.
  • How does networking representational fluency and quantitative reasoning shed light on students’ meaningful learning of algebra?
  • How do English as a second language learners communicate their mathematical ideas through linguistic and visual resources or representations?

2. Teaching and Learning Trajectories Strand. I study how teachers support secondary students’ learning of algebra in school settings over time.

  • What is a learning trajectory for quadratic function?
  • How do theoretically grounded instructional moves and task design support shifts in students’ ways of understanding and ways of thinking?
  • How might mindfulness mitigate math anxiety?
  • What are ways teachers support students’ multidimensionality of experience and relations through heart-centered caring?

3. Linking Research, Practice, and Place Strand. I study how to link research and practice in urban public schools with a focus on anti-oppressive practices and policies for marginalized students.

  • How do practices and policies operate as gatekeepers to students’ opportunities to learn math in meaningful ways in urban public high schools?
  • How do research-practice partnerships operate as mechanisms to address equitable approaches to linking research, practice, and policy in high school algebra?
  • How can the effective communication among researchers and teachers be improved and more equitable? What role can visual stimulus notes / sketchnotes play in this process?
  • What are productive images and metaphors for linking research and practice (that help us move beyond a deficiency or ‘gap’ focused storyline).