Dr. Queshonda Kudaisi is an Assistant Professor in the department of Teacher Education and Administration. We sat down with her recently to talk more about her research. Check it out!
Q. What is your main research focus?
A: My research agenda focuses broadly on social justice in mathematics education and is situated within the two perspectives on social justice in mathematics education. The first perspective is social justice as critical consciousness, which views the teaching of mathematics as a civic responsibility. My research in this area interrogates the teaching and learning of mathematics for social justice (its learners, its teachers, and its systems) within the context of mathematics teacher preparation. The second perspective on social justice in mathematics education as social justice as instrumental access which views the teaching of mathematics as a civil right. My research in this area focuses on Black and Brown students, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds within the context of informal environments such as after-school programs and summer camps. More specifically, I am interested in how students’ identity, power, and joy are developed through their participation in such programs, and its implications for mathematics teacher preparation.
Q. What do you have a background in?
A. I have a Bachelor of Science in Practical Theology, a Master of Arts in Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Mathematics Education. I have worked in private and public schools working as a middle school mathematics teacher, high school mathematics teacher, mathematics teacher leader, and instructional high school mathematics coach. In these roles, I focused on the ways of teaching math in ways, and training educators to teach mathematics in ways that attend to complex instruction and culturally relevant pedagogy. I also have worked as an executive director of a non-profit that provided both remediation and enrichment programs through after-school and summer programs for historically excluded students.
Q. What career, research, or teaching accomplishment are you most proud of?
A. In my teaching, I am most proud of the positive impact I have made in the lives of K-12 students through my work in formal and informal environments. I am also proud of the potential of my research to support mathematics teacher educators in better preparing teacher candidates to infuse social justice into the mathematics classroom. In my research, I’m proud that I can work with teacher candidates and mathematics teacher educators to improve mathematics education for all students. In my career, I am proud to be an assistant professor at the University of North Texas.
Q. How could your research impact society?
A. Through my research I plan to study the impacts of historically marginalized students' engagement with transformational 21st-century STEM experiences which in turn may empower them to make an impact in society. Such access may positively impact the lives of students, their families, and society at large.
Q. What is your favorite class to teach and why?
A. My favorite class to teach is EDEE 3350 Teaching Elementary Mathematics. I like to teach this class because I get to train future teachers to implement equitable mathematics teaching practices, to understand curriculum and its impacts, to assess in ways that promote equity, to teach mathematics in ways that help students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematics, to teach mathematics in ways that connect to students’ backgrounds, students’ interest, and to use mathematics as a tool understand and critique the world.
Q. What do you like about UNT?
A. I like UNT’s commitment to diversity which is exemplified at various levels including leadership, faculty, staff, and students. I also like the support I receive as a faculty member from those in leadership, senior faculty, and other junior faculty. This support has already positively contributed to my teaching, research, service, and professional development. Finally, I enjoy being a part of the faculty in the college of education in the department of teacher education and administration whose core commitments are in line with my values.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my husband and children doing backyard barbeques, going to amusement parks, swimming, and watching tv shows and movies.