Dr. Jennifer Anderson
B.A., P.D.P., Simon Fraser, M.Ed., Calgary, Ph.D. New Brunswick
Faculty of Education
G.A. Hickman Building
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL, Canada A1B 3X8
Tel: (709) 864-6158
My primary interest in education reside in the classroom, with children, and their experiences while learning. I began my teaching career as an elementary school generalist in British Columbia and have since taught in a rural intermediate school in New Zealand, high schools in Vancouver and London, and a middle school for gifted students in Calgary. In addition to researching and teaching, I have worked as a consultant with provincial, international (PISA), and national (PCAP) mathematics assessment programs, as well as international evaluation initiatives in Asia and the Caribbean.
Throughout my experiences, I have been surprised by the very different methods, values, and content in education, even between similar cultures like England, New Zealand, and Canada. I noticed that teachers and education systems have different expectations of their students and subject area proficiency. Even in mathematics, a subject that is thought to be universal, I noticed that expectations for mathematical literacy were different in different parts of the world. Consequently, I question the certainty of set criteria and ranking students and their learning using a percentage score and I remain uneasy about the competitive aspects of assessment practices while learning.
As I have continued my work with children and teachers around the world, these questions have only become more puzzling to me: How do values impact what we teach and evaluate? Whose knowledge counts? What are we missing by establishing learning outcomes and measureable criteria, even in subjects thought to be neutral such as mathematics? And, what are the effects of these decisions on our children, our education systems, and our planet as we move into the future? These questions continue to direct my career and inspire my research interests in classroom assessment, critical mathematics and experiential education, and I think the answers, and possibly some of the solutions to the challenging issues facing education and our society in the 21st century, reside in authentic, holistic, community, and land-based experience.