This site is written by Rachel Lambert, a former classroom teacher, special education teacher, and currently an assistant professor in the Gervitz Graduate School of Education at University of California Santa Barbara. I was trained as a mathematics educator at Mathematics in the City, a collaboration between City College in New York City and the Freudenthal Institute in the Netherlands, and as a disability studies scholar at Teachers College, the Graduate Center of CUNY, and my last academic job, Chapman University.
My scholarly work investigates the intersections between disability studies in education and mathematics education. I have conducted longitudinal studies of how learners with and without disabilities construct identities as mathematics learners, and how mathematical pedagogy shapes disability. I have found that students use multiple discourses and practices to understand themselves as math learners, and that their understandings shift over time based on pedagogy. Students in a classroom that encouraged discussion and multiple strategies, for example, saw themselves as competent learners of mathematics because they were able to ask questions, persist in solving problems, and present multiple strategies. The same children, as the class transitioned to a mathematics of memorization, were more likely to describe themselves as either fast or slow. Disability and ability both shifted as the pedagogy shifted, suggesting that the way we organize mathematics classrooms matters significantly for how we understand learners, and in term, for how they understand themselves. My work looks at children’s developing relationships with mathematics as intersectional, relational, and emotional.
My current work is on understanding the differences in research and practice across mathematics education and special education and understanding how teachers can deepen participation in the standards of mathematical practice. I am also very interested in neurodiversity, Universal Design for Learning, and their implications for mathematics teaching and learning.