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Megan L. Franke
Megan started listening to children back in her mom’s kindergarten class. She was inspired by how much they had to say and how much they noticed about the world around them. Her mom and her grandmother inspired her desire to teach, but also encouraged her to continue to ask more questions and go back to school. Her third-grade students continue to inform her teaching today--if only she knew then what she knows now. Graduate school at the University of Wisconsin--Madison introduced her to transcribing student math interviews, the joys and frustrations of data collection, and Cognitively Guided Instruction. CGI changed her life and allowed her to become a part of the most amazing community of CGI teachers. She has been learning from CGI teachers and their students and administrators ever since.
After graduate school Megan joined the faculty in the department of Education at UCLA where she has had the opportunity to engage with amazing scholars and graduate students who have helped her think more about issues of social justice, inequities and children’s thinking. Her research focuses on understanding and supporting teacher learning for both preservice and inservice teachers. She studies how teachers making use of research-based information about the development of children’s mathematical thinking to support students to learn mathematics. She is particularly interested in how teaching mathematics with attention to students’ mathematical thinking can challenge existing school structures and create opportunities for the students who have been marginalized to learn mathematics with understanding. In addition, Megan designs, prepares, and studies the preparation of mathematics teachers focused on early childhood through sixth grade. Her research work to support teachers, schools, and communities was recognized with the 2012 AERA Research into Practice Award. In addition, Franke was the co-PI of the Center for Diversity in Mathematics Education (DiME) and worked across universities to support fellows active in studying equity issues in mathematics education. DiME was awarded the AERA Division G Henry Trueba Award. Dr. Megan Franke was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2017.
While Megan learns regularly from her research work and can use it to help shape policy and practice, what drives much of her thinking is her work with students, teachers, and administrators as they take on the challenges of adapting their mathematical practice to meet the needs of students. She has worked with teachers from preschool through middle school, in districts large and small, in rural, suburban and urban contexts across the United States. She is currently partnering with the UCLA Mathematics Project and LAUSD to provide professional development in sixty elementary schools and six preschool centers. She and her colleagues in CGI have written a series of books for teachers: Children’s Mathematics, Young Children’s Mathematics, and Thinking Mathematically (Heinemann). Her newest title coauthored with Elham Kazemi and Angela Chan Turrou, Choral Counting and Counting Collections, is new from Stenhouse, Fall 2018.
Megan’s children Tessa and Joshua, now in their twenties, and her husband, Todd, are often heard saying things like, "Wouldn’t these make a great counting collection?" ...or maybe you should ask her how she figured that out.