Author Archives: Lori Hamada

Student Adaptive Pedagogy

When our Director of Research attended the Psychology of Mathematics Education – North American conference this year along with a couple of our Senior Researchers, they had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ron Tzur from the University of Colorado in Denver.  Like many others that we have now begun communicating with, Dr. Tzur studied with Les Steffe at the University of Georgia.  He too understands the continuum of learning that Dr. Steffe identified and is, like the AIMS Center, working to translate this understanding into practices and structures that classroom teachers can embrace.

We had the opportunity to talk with him last week about a project that he is heading up in Colorado focused on “student adaptive pedagogy.”  This is the term that I have been searching for!  This is what I was referring to in my January 10th blog post.  Student adaptive pedagogy is literally believing in children’s knowledge!  It is teaching by providing experiences that each child in your class needs, based on their understanding of the topic being taught.  It is understanding the progression of learning so deeply that a teacher is prepared to adapt their instruction, the experiences being presented, to meet a child at their level of understanding, in an attempt to move them along their individual path of learning.  This is teaching!  This is what I always tried to do in my own classroom but I never realized that it had a name.

At the AIMS Center, when we work with teachers to translate this knowledge that we have been working to understand, we will be very explicit in what a teacher should watch for, what those exhibited student behaviors mean, and how instruction might be adapted to meet each student’s individual needs.  We intend to be very explicit in our discussions about the what, why, and how of changing one’s practice to a student adaptive pedagogy.  We intend to be very transparent in our belief in children’s knowledge!

This will not be easy to do. This will be asking a teacher to take on the challenge of seriously teaching every child in their classroom. We have heard the phrase “differentiated instruction” for many years, but it has always seemed overwhelming to truly implement in a classroom. Really believing in children’s knowledge makes NOT implementing this daunting task of differentiation seem almost unethical. We believe that the main obstacle for teachers in the past has been a lack of knowledge about the progression of learning. We are preparing to walk alongside teachers to help them really embrace this knowledge and allow it to impact their pedagogy.

Dr. Tzur said that our real intent is “to get Les Steffe into the classroom!”  Dr. Steffe has spent over 30 years really documenting this progression of learning.  We are excited at the opportunity to help teachers use this new knowledge to change student’s lives.  We believe in children’s knowledge!  We believe in children.

What is Changing and What Will Never Change

It is an interesting time in America; there is change all around us.  But, what will never change is the need to educate our children…the need to continue improving the education of our children.  That improvement comes through the hard work of our teachers, improving their skills to improve the experiences of their students. At… Continue Reading


When Dr. Thiessen first discussed his ideas about launching the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education with me, he suggested that our motto should be:      “Know the Math; Know the Science; Know the Research.” And, he said, even more importantly, we can never forget that:      “We believe in children’s knowledge!” I have been working… Continue Reading

2016 – The Ampersand

When Dr. Thiessen recruited me to launch this new Center, he shared with me his vision of collaboration.  He believed, as do I, that we are much stronger together and that this work of knowledge translation was going to be difficult work.  In 2014, the AIMS Education Foundation Board agreed to totally renovate our existing… Continue Reading

The Work of the AIMS Center

I am writing this post from the annual conference of Learning Forward, an organization whose mission it is to “build the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning.”   When I became the Mathematics Coordinator at the Fresno County Office of Education in 1998, I turned to this professional organization (then called… Continue Reading

A New Vision

As we have launched the Research Division of the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education we have found that there is extensive financial backing for educational research and there are increasing funds for the professional development of our teachers.  Yet, there appears to be a gaping hole in this continuum – the funding for… Continue Reading

“Coming to Know” in Science…

I recently read an article from Science and Cognitive Development that really piqued my interest ( It started by saying, “Science for young children is all about gaining new knowledge of the world around them; what they can see, hear, smell and touch. Science for young children is also about learning how to learn. It’s… Continue Reading

Algebraic Thinking with Rural Teachers in Florida

This past year, the AIMS Center had the privilege of working with hundreds of rural teachers in the state of Florida.  Our host was actually the Florida and the Islands Comprehensive Center (FLICC), operated by the Educational Testing Service.  We worked with three different consortia, the Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC) in Lake Placid, the North… Continue Reading

The AIMS Center – Wow!

WOW!  I have been absolutely blessed to have been brought in to direct the transition of the AIMS Education Foundation into the newly envisioned AIMS Center for Math and Science Education!  What does that mean?  Well… Dr. Arthur Wiebe left a legacy through the work of the AIMS Education Foundation.  Since 1981, AIMS has worked… Continue Reading