My undergraduate degree is as a grade 7-12 teacher in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. I have also been teaching mathematics at university level and been engaged in different teaching development projects, in particular directed towards undergraduate mathematics students with learning difficulties.
I have a PhD degree in mathematics (approximation theory, Umeå 1993) and a PhD degree in mathematics education (Learning difficulties, Roskilde 2001). I am since 2004 professor in mathematics education. In 1994 professor Hans Wallin initiated the formation of a mathematics education research group at Umeå university, and since then I have worked with him and others in this project as the Director of Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (www.umerc.umu.se). I am also involved in the management of Umeå School of Education (www.use.umu.se/english).
My main research interests are characteristics, causes, and measures concerning the learning difficulties that most students at all educational levels meet. Our empirical studies of casual connections points unambiguously to that the lack of key competencies among students to a large extent can be traced to insufficiencies in the learning environment offered to the students. The educational system meets the difficulties by a too far-reaching reduction of complexity, e.g. by focussing rote memorisation of facts and algorithms, which is efficient in a short-term perspective in the sense that the students can solve several of the tasks but devastating in the long run since neither conceptual understanding nor problem solving abilities are developed. In our design research studies in collaboration with researchers from psychology, neuroscience and mathematics education evidence are emerging that students can learn in more efficient ways if they are given better possibilities to construct their own mathematical task solutions by creative reasoning.