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Lisa Österling

About me

I hold a position as assistent professor in Mathematics Education in Stockholm University. I am part of the IM2PACT-project on inclusion and identity in higher education mathematics and physics.

My dissertation project was finalized in 2021, where focused mathematics teacher education, and how the legitimisation of knowledge, together with the construct of images of desired teachers, relates to issues of epistemic access. I have found how educational concepts are not very visible, and therefore not accessible, in the practicum part of teacher education. I also discuss how different images of the desired teachers from policy, school, research and teacher education privileges different kinds of teachers. Also, some of these images presupposes a certain cultural and social disposition, a contrast from the diversity among real student teachers.

At present, I am part of the TRACE-project, where I research how the teaching of new mathematics teachers develop during their first years after graduation. I am also collaborating on research on teacher education with Lee Rusznyak and the LCT-network in the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In addition, I am part of the Net-DiMas-project together with researchers in Chile, to increase inclusion in mathematics teacher education. In Stockholm, I participate in the K-ULF project on compensatory education, a collaboration between teacher education, research and practicing teachers, lead by Cecilia Kozma at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH. 

I teach in all different levels of teacher education. I teach and supervice doctoral students within the ReMath-research school, I supervise master students, I participate in practicum mentor education, and I teach student teachers in their mathematics education courses and practicum. In my teaching, I emphasise the communicative parts, both in terms of dialogic instruction and digital media, but also by providing access to academic discourse.

Teaching

I teach courses at all levels of Mathematics Education: doctoral leve, master level and teacher programs, particularly programs for secondary teachers. I also work in practicum courses. 

In teaching, I emphasise issues of language and diversity to facilitate access to learning for my students, 

Research

I am part of the IM2PACT project on inclusion and diversity within higher education mathematics and physics, lead by Paola Valero. 

For my masters thesis, I engaged in the Swedish part of "The WiFi-project", an international project researching what students' find important in mathematics learning. 

My PhD-project is connected to the TRACE-project on teacher education, and inspired by participation in the SOCAME-research group in Stockholm University. It is also in the TRACE-project I plan to continue my research in the near future.

Research projects

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • PRODUCTIVE WAYS OF ORGANISING PRACTICUM – WHATDO WE KNOW?

    2018. Lisa Österling, Iben Christiansen. Proceedings of the 42nd Conferenceof the International Groupfor the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 443-450

    Conference

    The starting point for this review are questions on the empirical base for theorganization of practicum. Selecting peer reviewed, empirically based articles for2001-2017, with a focus on mathematics teacher education and the practicum, resultedin the inclusion of 51 articles for review. Exploring the outcomes and student teachers’experiences of practicum suggested that responsibility for teaching together withsupport from mentors, university lecturers, university coursework, peers or prompts touse a theoretical framework improves learning outcomes in practicum, and the lengthof time in a school context does not do so on its own.

    Read more about PRODUCTIVE WAYS OF ORGANISING PRACTICUM – WHATDO WE KNOW?
  • Democratic Actions in School Mathematics and the Dilemma of Conflicting Values

    2019. Annica Andersson, Lisa Österling. Values and Valuing in Mathematics Education, 69-88

    Chapter

    This chapter reports and problematizes relationships between the expected democratic actions as part of the politically expected democratically inclusion of students’ wishes and concerns; and students’ valuing of mathematical activities in mathematics classrooms, departing from the Swedish results from a large-scale quantitative cross-cultural survey. We asked what are the conflicts between most valued activities by Swedish students and the valuing of democratic actions. The quantitative study showed that students value “knowing the times tables” and “teachers’ explanations” and “correctness” over explorative, communicational and collaborative activities. We discuss the cultural and historical reasons behind these results and argue that we must understand the valuing of times tables or teachers’ explanations as an expression of enculturated and therefore culturally valued actions in mathematics classrooms, where this enculturation takes place not only in school, but in conversations with parents, grandparents, in media and in children’s books. We also argue that the conflict between the political expectations of democratic participation and actions, and the invitation to students to influence teaching on the one hand, and on the other hand students use of this influence through valuing teacher explaining, mastering times tables and understanding why the answer is incorrect, rather conserve a mathematics teaching organised around values as objectism and control than through openness and rationalism.

    Read more about Democratic Actions in School Mathematics and the Dilemma of Conflicting Values
  • Images of the desired teacher in practicum observation protocols

    2019. Iben Maj Christiansen, Lisa Österling, Kicki Skog. Research Papers in Education

    Article

    ‘Good teaching’ remains disputed, but few studies have empirically studied variations in views of good teaching as reflected in teacher education. This study performed a content analysis of criteria for student teacher lesson observations stated in protocols from universities in six countries. Similarities across the protocols were the absence of images of the charismatic and the technical-professional teacher, and the dearth of teleological aspects. The degree to which protocols reflected a knowledge base, had clear implementation requirements, valued reasoned judgement, and valued transformation of content varied. On the basis of this range of images of the desired teacher, we suggest four categories of teacher images: the knowledgeable teacher, the knowledge-transforming teacher, the efficient teacher, and the constantly improving teacher, and further discuss the possibility of an inspired teacher.

    Read more about Images of the desired teacher in practicum observation protocols
  • inVisible Theory in Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers’ Practicum Tasks

    2021. Lisa Österling. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

    Article

    The present study adds to an ongoing debate about third spaces in teacher education, spaces where theory and practice come together. One third space is constituted by the written tasks from practicum. Yet research has shown only modest emphasis on theory in such tasks. Tasks from two versions of a programme are used to represent two different positions on linking theory and practice. The tasks were therefore analysed with respect to the demarcation of conceptual objects as well as practice-based contexts. The findings indicate a difference with respect to the demarcation of conceptual objects, especially concepts relating to mathematics and mathematics education. This is seen as indicative of the reduced encouragement of linking theory and practice. 

    Read more about inVisible Theory in Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers’ Practicum Tasks
  • Desires for mathematics teachers and their knowledge

    2021. Lisa Österling (et al.).

    Thesis (Doc)

    This dissertation is driven by questions about images of desired teachers, privileged teacher knowledge, and access to knowledge in teacher education. My position is that images of particular teachers restrict access to teacher education, while visible knowledge increases epistemic access. 

    A particular focus is practicum, where images of desired teachers and privileged knowledge are negotiated between the three arenas of school, university, and policy. Four papers are included, and each paper is a separate study.

    Two studies engage images of desired teachers. The first study engages lesson observation protocols from the practicum part of teacher education in six countries. The result is four different images of desired teachers: the knowledgeable, the knowledge-transforming, the efficient, and the constantly-improving teacher. The second study is an analysis of Swedish policy reports prepared for political decisions on teacher education, at a national level. The analysis targets mathematics knowledge and mathematics teachers as constructed in the reform. The images of desired teachers constructed in policy were the born, the interested, the knowledgeable, and the skilful teacher. The privileged mathematical knowledge was skills and facts. 

    The next two studies engage privileged knowledge. The third study uses practicum tasks from two programmes in the same institution, and engages an analysis of a third space, where the practice-based context and conceptual objects can integrate. The result is that the visibility of conceptual knowledge, and particularly mathematical knowledge, decreased from the former to the more recent programme, and the third space for theory and practice to integrate, diminished. The fourth study is an analysis of mentor conversations in the school arena, focusing on de-ritualising prompts in teaching. Mentors were found to privilege learners’ agentive participation in learning mathematics and hence the production of narratives and flexible routines.

    In the studies, the images of desired teachers and privileged knowledge are compared across arenas. The image of the knowledgeable teacher and the image of the efficient teacher who successfully obtains goals, permeated all arenas. There were four differences: one, the images of born, interested, and skilful teachers were visible only in the policy arena; two, the privileged mathematical knowledge in policy was skills and facts to be memorised, while for mentors in schools, learner participation in mathematics discourse was privileged; three, the third space was not generated in practicum tasks, whereas the complex joint labour in teaching and learning mathematics was foregrounded by mentors; four, the image of the constantly improving teacher was found only in the practicum instruments of teacher education.

    Although the image of a knowledgeable teacher was visible across the arenas, a disagreement on privileged knowledge was found. Student teachers are asked to self-improve, but are at the same time made responsible for recognising invisible knowledge. I claim that more can be done in mathematics teacher education to promote visible knowledge in practicum, and thereby increase epistemic access. I also claim that the image of the born teacher is based on normalisations which are often irrelevant for appraising teachers.

    Read more about Desires for mathematics teachers and their knowledge
  • PRODUCTIVE WAYS OF ORGANISING PRACTICUM – WHAT DO WE KNOW? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

    2018. Lisa Österling, Iben Maj Christiansen. Proceedings of the 42nd Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 443-450

    Conference

    The starting point for this review are questions on the empirical base for the organization of practicum.  Selecting peer reviewed, empirically based articles for 2001- 2017, with a focus on mathematics teacher education and the practicum, resulted in the inclusion of 51 articles for review. Exploring the outcomes and student teachers’ experiences of practicum suggested that responsibility for teaching together with support from mentors, university lecturers, university coursework, peers or prompts to use a theoretical framework improves learning outcomes in practicum, and the length of time in a school context does not do so on its own.

    Read more about PRODUCTIVE WAYS OF ORGANISING PRACTICUM – WHAT DO WE KNOW? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
  • Measuring Immesurable Values

    2013. Annica Andersson, Lisa Österling. Proceedings of the 37th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 17-24

    Conference

    This paper critically explores research on values in mathematics education from a methodological perspective. In the contexts of conducting large-scale international collaborations and comparisons we problematize the interpretation of learning activities as indicators of a certain value. Interviews with students supported our work, and we argue that a learning activity can be interpreted out of different categories of values, depending on the context.

    Read more about Measuring Immesurable Values
  • Diversity and inclusion in mathematics teacher education: Lessons from Chile and Sweden

    2021. Paola Valero (et al.). Exploring new ways to connect, 107-110

    Conference

    Based on the examination of Chilean and Swedish research, the symposium addresses the possi­bilities and challenges for researching diversity and inclusion in mathematics pre- and in-service teacher education. Departing form concrete localized research and its contextual, theoretical and methodological stances, larger reflections and implications for the education of mathematics teachers that may lead to an increased sensitivity towards students’ diversities and their impact in inclusion of students and change of educational experiences in mathematics are drawn.

    Read more about Diversity and inclusion in mathematics teacher education
  • The crosscurrents of Swedish mathematics teacher education

    2021. Iben Maj Christiansen (et al.). International perspectives on mathematics teacher education, 9-48

    Chapter

    As with any programs in teacher education, Swedish mathematics teacher education is influenced by changing political winds, developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), culture, history, PISA results, research-based program designs, and a fair amount of passion. Content and outcomes are nationally determined and include the requirement of a strong research foundation, but this is often not how practcing techers work, which exerts its own pull on teacher education. The specific implementations of programs take different forms at the universities that offer mathematics teacher education. In order to provide a comprehensive yet meaningful ntroduction to both the current system and current practices, we describe the overall organization of Swedish mathematics teacher education, and then offer short cases of implemented programs. To ensure inclusivity, the various parts are written by mathematics educators from the respective institutions. In this way, both variation across mathematicas teacher education for diffrent grade levels and variation across different institutions working with the same national directives can be distinguished. Issues such as the academization of teacher education are problematized, as are other forces that constitute the crosscurrents in Swedish mathematics teacher education.

    Read more about The crosscurrents of Swedish mathematics teacher education

Show all publications by Lisa Österling at Stockholm University