Student strategies in proof comprehension: Investigating the strategies students use to enhance their understanding when reading proof
Lino Guajardo

About the research

Award

NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year

2024

Institution

Texas State University

Primary Discipline

Mathematics Education
Proof comprehension is one of many important tasks mathematicians believe their students should practice (c.f., Weber & Mejia-Ramos, 2011). This importance of the task has focused some proof researchers on student proof comprehension. Yet, the current state of the field uses the researcher or mathematician perspective. These perspectives have been used to assess student proof comprehension or develop ways to improve student proof comprehension. Little research has been conducted in investigating the student perspective of proof comprehension (e.g., Weber, 2015). In my dissertation, I plan to conduct a series of semi-structured interviews with 6-10 students focusing on student perspective in three ways. Firstly, I will extend the work conducted by Weber (2015) by not just considering “successful” students but investigating the proof comprehension strategies general sets of students use and why they are used when attempting to understand a given proof. Secondly, I plan to explore how students’ beliefs about proof and their experiences with proof may influence what proof comprehension strategies they use to understand a given proof. Lastly, I plan to investigate how students judge the difficulty in understanding a given proof and how this perception of difficulty may influence the proof comprehension strategies they use. My dissertation will support the narrative and belief that student perspectives in education is important. To truly support students in their learning and to teach students productively, researchers and instructors must take into consideration students’ perspectives on the content and ideas being brought to them.
About Lino Guajardo
I am a queer Latiné first-generation PhD candidate in Mathematics Education at Texas State University. I received my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and had little direction or guidance. During my time as an undergraduate, I began to truly fall in love with mathematics and decided I wanted that to be my career. I soon joined math education because I enjoyed teaching and talking about mathematics and listening to people talk about mathematics. As time continued, I realized I wanted to not only listen to people talk about mathematics, but also help students in developing their understanding. My research area is on understanding how senior and junior level mathematics college majors understand the material they see in their courses. I hope through my research, we can help all students become mathematicians and widen the STEM “pipeline” by making sure all can succeed, not just the ones with the most privilege. When I am not doing school-work or research, I am typically with my two cats (Mr. Bradshaw and Toffee), out on a walk, playing video or board games, working on puzzles, or spending time with friends.

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