Get to know Professor Wee Tiong Seah, coffee-shop enthusiast, keen traveller and MGSE's Professor in Mathematics Education - a specialisation of our Master of Education.
Q: Do you mind giving a short introduction to your background?
I have more than 18 years of experience in initial teacher education and in-service professional development across different tertiary institutions in Victoria. Before embarking on an academic career, I had extensive professional experience in mathematics teaching and pastoral care across a range of school settings in Singapore.
I am co-Director of the University of Melbourne Numeracy R-3 Professional Development program (2019 – 2021), designed for South Australia Department for Education. I was a member of the Australian federal government’s Expert Advisory and Research Group, and was invited in 2018 by the Victorian Department of Education to facilitate workshops for some 800 principals and school leaders. I also conduct collaborative research and consultancy activities in 8 countries overseas.
Q: Do you have a particular area of research/specialisation?
My main research focus is on developing what teachers and students value in mathematics education, such that the valuing supports the teaching and learning of relevant competences/proficiencies, and fosters a sense of wellbeing in engaging with mathematics. I currently coordinate a 19-country research consortium in a series of research studies relating to the harnessing of values to promote positive mathematics learning outcomes, to develop teacher self-efficacy, and to empower students to regulate mathematics anxiety. I am passionate about comparative education, researching how the last few decades of globalisation have brought about a convergence of (mathematics) education policies which sidelines the cultural nature of knowledge, skills and dispositions.
Q: Do you have a defining moment or influential person who encouraged you to pursue education?
A career in education represents my way of repaying to the society what it has blessed me with – knowledge, skills, attitudes, and the values supporting these.
Q: What advice would you give to those students thinking about taking the Mathematics Education Specialisation?
As much as mathematics, mathematics education, and school education in general are culturally-based, participants in my sessions should be open to being pushed to interrogate how mathematics is taught and learnt across different cultures, and how we can adjust our own professional practice in the mathematics classroom accordingly in ways which also acknowledge local pedagogical traditions.
Q: What are your passions outside of education?
There are quite several actually, but the one up there would have to be finding a good coffee-shop while travelling and spending time in there reading over a cuppa.
Read Professor Wee Tiong Seah's biography here.