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Tesha Sengupta-Irving

Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education and Learning Sciences, Department of Teaching and Learning


Mathematic education in schools has been conscripted in the racial, gendered, and economic enterprise of neoliberalism.  To ask questions of mathematical learning that are not solely tied to global domination and technological supremacy, mobilizes a counter-narrative of pedagogies that can reclaim mathematics education as a humanizing enterprise. Asking such questions is the foundation of my research.

My research asks a relatively simple, but implicitly sociopolitical question: What, in addition to mathematics, do children learn when they learn mathematics?  Drawing on the research fields of mathematics education and the learning sciences, my work makes visible how teachers organize learning in ways that advance mathematical knowledge and practices, cultivate a sense of agency and authority in learning, position students to persevere as individuals and collectives, and work in ways that satiate the social, emotional, political, and academic aspirations of minoritized youth.  My work generates new knowledge of learning for teaching mathematics that centers the discipline alongside the humanistic desires that drive its mastery.

Short Biography

I earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After working briefly in industry, I became a mathematics teacher who first worked with incarcerated youth and adults seeking a G.E.D. in Colorado, then later with secondary students in the Compton Unified and San Mateo School Districts in California. I completed a PhD in Mathematics Curriculum & Teacher Education at Stanford University in 2009, where I was awarded the Stanford Graduate Fellowship, and Spencer Research and Dissertation Fellowships. I completed my postdoctoral studies at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Sciences, where I also served as the Assistant Director of Research for the UCLA Lab School. Currently, I teach courses in the doctoral and secondary education programs in the Department of Teaching and Learning.