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Beckmann to receive national award for Mathematics education

Alan Flurry

Sybilla Beckmann, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, will receive the 2024 American Mathematical Society Award for Impact on Teaching and Learning of Mathematics. The $1,000 award is presented annually by the American Mathematical Society to a mathematician (or group of mathematicians) for significant contributions of lasting value to mathematics education.

“Beckmann is nationally recognized for her seminal contributions to mathematics teacher education, combining experiences in mathematics, public school classrooms, textbook writing, national service, and research," the AMS award citation noted. "Through her work in mathematics education policy, she has advocated for high-quality teacher education and rigorous mathematical curriculum, impacting students and teachers across the country.”

Beckmann’s textbook, “Mathematics for Elementary Teachers with Activities” (2002, now in its sixth edition), is a leading resource in the training of mathematics teachers. In the policy realm, Beckmann was on the Work Group for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, the closest thing in the United States to a rigorous set of standards shared across states.

“Dr. Beckmann wrote in the introduction to her influential book, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers, that `[t]o teach mathematics well, teachers must know more than just how to carry out basic mathematical procedures; they must be able to explain why…'  Dr. Beckmann’s emphasis on deep understanding has had a major impact on the teaching and learning of mathematics nationwide. The Mathematics Department is proud that her work at UGA has been recognized by this important award,” said William Graham, professor and interim head of the department of mathematics.

Beckmann began her career doing research in arithmetic geometry, but she became interested in mathematics education as her children entered school. She developed courses for prospective elementary and middle-school teachers that were designed to go deeply into the ideas of elementary and middle-school mathematics. Her textbook for such courses is now in its sixth edition. Beckmann was a member of a number of national committees and writing teams to develop recommendations, guidelines, and standards for the mathematical education of students and teachers. She continues to do research in mathematics education.

Image: Sybilla Beckmann


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