Let's Talk About Education

Community Speaker Series

The Faculty of Education is pleased to present a complimentary speaker series open to the general public to share research being conducted and facilitate discussion around important topics in education.

Please join us for the next presentation! There is no cost to attend and registration is not mandatory, but it is greatly appreciated to ensure sufficient seating.

Building Blocks of Mathematical Competence: Evidence from Brain and Behaviour

Daniel Ansari

Dr. Daniel Ansari, Professor
Western's Brain and Mind Institute

Link to Recording: https://youtu.be/xUUj0cqYRQU

Thursday, May 17, 2018; 7:00 - 8:00 pm

London Public Library, Central Branch

Stevenson & Hunt Room B

validated parking available*

Children with strong early math skills are likely to continue doing well in math, and there is a relationship between low number and math skills in childhood and low socio-economic outcomes in adulthood. Knowing that, we need to better understand the fundamentals of how children learn number and math skills, and to use this information to improve math education.

In this talk I will provide an overview of what insights have been gained from recent research in Developmental Psychology and Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience on the building blocks of mathematical competence. Specifically, I will discuss research that has shown that basic number processing (such as comparing which of two numbers is larger) is related to individual differences in children’s arithmetic achievement. For example, children with mathematical learning difficulties have been found to perform poorly on basic number processing tasks. In this talk I will review evidence for an association between basic number processing and arithmetic achievement in children with and without mathematical difficulties. By doing so, I will also discuss whether individual differences in mathematical abilities are driven by innate differences in a ‘number sense’ that humans share with other species or whether such variability is related to the acquisition of uniquely human, symbolic representations of number (e.g. Arabic numerals).  I will draw on evidence from both brain and behaviour and discuss the implications of this research for assessment, diagnosis and intervention. I will also review research on mathematics anxiety and gender differences in numerical and mathematical development.

Daniel Ansari, PhD, received his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Sussex and his doctorate at the Institute of Child Health, University College of London. His thesis was on the numerical and mathematical abilities of children with Williams syndrome. During his doctoral studies, he became increasingly interested in neuroscience, receiving an MSc in neuroscience at the University of Oxford. In 2002, Dr. Ansari was an assistant professor of education at Dartmouth College in the Education Department. Since 2006, he has been a professor (and former Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience) at Western, where he heads the Numerical Cognition Laboratory.

* for Citiplaza parking validation take your parking slip to the library circulation desk before the talk; validation good for two hours.

2016-2017 Presentations:

2015-2016 Presentations:

2014-2015 Presentations:

  • Thank you to all who attended Dr. Hibbert's presentation "Lessons From Fukushima".

2013-2014 Presentations:

Questions or comments? Please email Jen Heidenheim (jheidenh@uwo.ca), Faculty of Education.