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Dr. Anna Sierpinska, PhD

Full Professor, Mathematics and Statistics


1970: MSc in Mathematics with specialization in commutative algebra, from Warsaw University in Poland
1984: PhD in Mathematics with specialization in the didactics of mathematics, from the Higher School of Pedagogy, Cracow, Poland (presently named Pedagogical University in Cracow)
2006: Honorary Doctorate from the Lulea Tekniska Universitet

Research interests

Mathematics Education

Davydov’s approach to teaching mathematics at the elementary school level.

Measurement approach to teaching the notion of number, especially fractions.

Elementary mathematics teacher pre-service education.

The phenomenon of frustration in prerequisite mathematics courses at the university.

The development of a balance between theoretical and practical thinking in linear algebra students.

Didactic engineering in the domain of the teaching of linear algebra at the undergraduate level, using technology.

Students’ understanding of linear algebra.

The notion of understanding in mathematics.

Epistemological analyses of mathematical concepts with the help of the notions of epistemological obstacle and understanding - historical and ontogenetic perspectives.

Methodological problems of research into the development of mathematical concepts.

Methodological problems in research into the construction of meaning in the mathematics classroom.


Books and book chapters


Laborde, C., Perrin-Glorian, M.-J., Sierpinska, A. (Eds)(2005). Beyond the Apparent Banality of the Mathematics Classroom. New York: Springer.

Sierpinska, A. & Kilpatrick, J. (Eds) (1998). Mathematics Education as a Research Domain:A Search for Identity. An ICMI Study. Dortrecht: Kluwer AcademicPublishers.

Steinbring, H., Sierpinska, A., M.G. Bartolini-Bussi(Eds) (1998). Language and communicationin the mathematics classroom. Reston, VA.: NCTM.

Sierpinska, A.(1995) La compréhension en mathématiques. Mont-Royal, Québec: Modulo Editeur.

Sierpinska, A. (1994). Understanding in mathematics. London: The Falmer Press Ltd.


Sierpinska, A.(2016). Inquiry-based learning approaches and the development of theoretical thinking in the mathematics education of future elementary school teachers. In B. Maj-Tatsis, M. Pytlak and E. Swoboda (Eds), Inquiry based mathematical education (pp. 23-57). Rzeszow: University of Rzeszow. Available for download from

Sierpinska, A.(2013). Reforms in education through the lens of Transactional Analysis Theory.In B. Grevholm, P.S. Hundeland, K. Juter, K. Kislenko, and P.E. Persson (Eds.), Nordic research in didactics of mathematics: Past, present and future, (pp. 508-542). Oslo: Cappelen Damm AS. 

Hardy, N. & Sierpinska, A. (2012). Mathematical organization of some French and English algebra textbooks in remedial courses in colleges and universities in North America. In F. Hitt & C. Cortès (Eds.), Formation à la recherche en didactique des mathématiques (pp. 239-250). Longueuil, QC: Loze-Dion éditeur, Inc.

Sierpinska, A.(2012). L’arbre banyan de l’expérience d’un formateur. In J. Proulx, C.Corriveau & H. Squalli (Eds.), Formation mathématique pour l’enseignement des mathématiques. Pratiques, orientations, recherches (pp. 91-98). Montréal, QC: Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Sierpinska, A. & Hardy, N. (2010). Unterrichten wir noch Mathematik? In C. Böttinger, M. Nührenbörger, R. Schwartzkopf, E. Söbbeke& K. Bräuning (Eds.), Mathematik im Denkender Kinder (pp. 94-100). Seelze: Friedrich Verlag GmbH.

Sierpinska, A. (2005). Preface. In C. Laborde, M.-J. Perrin-Glorian, A. Sierpinska (Eds.), Beyondthe Apparent Banality of the Mathematics Classroom (pp. v-vii). Dortrecht,The Netherlands: Springer.

Sierpinska, A. (2005). Discoursing mathematics away. In J. Kilpatrick, O. Skovsmose and C. Hoyles (Eds.), Meaning in Mathematics Education (pp. 205-230). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sierpinska, A. (2005). On practical and theoretical thinking and other false dichotomies in mathematics education. In M. Hoffmann, J. Lenhard and F. Seeger (Eds), Activity and Sign - Grounding Mathematics Education. (pp. 117-136).Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Dorier, J.-L., Sierpinska, A. (2001). Research into the teaching and learning of linear algebra. In D. Holton (Ed.), The Teaching and Learning of Mathematics at University Level. An ICMI Study (pp. 255-274). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Bartolini Bussi, M.G. & Sierpinska, A. (2000). The relevance of historical studies in designing and analysing classroom activities. In J. Fauvel & J. van Maanen (Eds), History in Mathematics Education. An ICMI Study (pp.154-160). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sierpinska, A. (2000). On some aspects of students’ thinking in linear algebra.  In J.-L.Dorier (Ed.), On the Teaching of Linear Algebra (pp. 209-246). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sierpinska, A.(1999). Interaction des perspectives épistémologique, cognitive et didactique.In G. Lemoyne & F. Conne (Eds.). Le cognitif en didactique des mathématiques (pp. 151-176). Montréal: LesPresses de l’Université de Montréal.

Sierpinska,A. (1998). Three epistemologies, three styles of classroom communication:constructivism, socio-cultural approaches, interactionism. In H. Steinbring,A. Sierpinska, and M.G. Bartolini-Bussi (Eds.), Language and communication in the mathematics classroom (pp.30-63). Reston, VA.: NCTM.

Sierpinska, A.& Kilpatrick, J. (1998). Continuing the search. In A. Sierpinska & J. Kilpatrick (Eds.), Mathematics Education as a Research Domain: a Search for Identity. AnICMI Study (pp.526-548). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sierpinska, A. & Lerman, S. (1996). Epistemologies of mathematics and of mathematics education. In A. Bishop et al. (Eds.), International Handbook of MathematicsEducation (pp. 827-876). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Sierpinska, A. , Defence, A., Khatcherian, T., Saldanha,L. (1997). A propos de trois modesde raisonnement en algèbre linéaire. In J.-L. Dorier (Ed.), L’Enseignement de l’Algèbre Linéaire en Question (pp. 249-268). Grenoble: La Pensée Sauvage éditions.

Sierpinska, A. (1996). The diachronic dimension in research on understanding in mathematics - usefulness and limitations of the concept of epistemological obstacle. In H.N. Jahnke, N. Knoche, M. Otte (Eds.),History of Mathematics and Education: Ideas and Experiences (pp.289-318). Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht.

Sierpinska, A. (1992). On understanding the notion of function. In E. Dubinsky & G. Harel (Eds.), The concept of function: Elements of Pedagogy and Epistemology (pp.25-58). Notes and Reports Series of the Mathematical Association of America,Vol. 25.

Sierpinska,A. (1989). Sur un programme de recherche lié à la notion d'obstacle épistémologique. In N. Bednarz & C. Garnier (Eds.), Constructiondes savoirs. Obstacles et conflits (pp. 130-147). Montreal: Agence d'ARC.

Journal Articles

        Sierpinska,A. (2018). Response to Culligan and Wagner’s ‘This is not mathematics’. For the Learning of Mathematics 38(3),16.

Bobos, G. & Sierpinska, A. (2017). Measurement approach to teaching  fractions: A design experiment in a pre-service course for elementary teachers. Internationa lJournal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning 18(2), 203-239.

Sierpinska, A.& Osana, H. (2012). Analysis of tasks in pre-service elementaryteacher education courses. Research in Mathematics Education 14(2), 109-135.

Sierpinska, A., Bobos, G. & Pruncut, A. (2011). Teaching absolute value inequalities to mature students. Educational Studies in Mathematics 78(3), 275-305. DOI: 10.1007/s10649-011-9325-2

El-Rouadi, N. & Sierpinska, A. (2011). Stratégies de résolution de problèmes d’élèves libanais à la fin de scolarité obligatoire et au début de l’école secondaire. Petit x 85, 31-50

Sierpinska, A., Bobos, G. & Knipping, Ch. (2008),‘Sources of students’ frustration in pre-university level, prerequisite mathematics courses’, InstructionalScience 36, 289-320.

Lukkassen, D., Persson L.-E., Sierpinska, A. (2007), Some aspects of web courses in mathematics based on PC screen recorded videolectures. Nordisk Mathematikkdidaktikk12(4), 53-72.

Sierpinska, A., Bobos, G., Knipping, Ch. (2007). A study of university students’ frustration in pre-university level, prerequisite mathematics courses: emotions, positions and perception of achievement. Didactica Mathematicae (Dydaktyka Matematyki) 30, 47-76.

Sierpinska,A. (2006) 'Entre l'idéal et la réalité de l'enseignement des mathématiques', Annales de Didactique et des Sciences Cognitives, Vol. 11, IREM de Strasbourg, pp. 5-39. Available at

Richard,P. & Sierpinska, A.: 2004, 'Étude fonctionnelle-structurelle de deuxextraits des manuels anciens de géométrie', in G. Lemoyne (ed.), Revue desSciences de l'Éducation 30 (2), Numéro Thématique, "Le langage dans l'enseignement et l'apprentissage des mathématiques", 379-410.

Sierpinska, A.: 2004, Research in mathematics education through a keyhole: task problematization, For the Learning of Mathematics 24(2), 7-15.

Sierpinska, A.: 2003, 'Visualization is in the mind of the beholder', New Zealand Journal ofMathematics 32, November 2003, 173-194.

Sierpińska, A. (2002). Dokąd zmierza dydaktyka matematyki? Studia Matematyczne Akademii Swiętokrzyskiej 9, 9-36. (A revised and extended Polish version of my plenary talk at ICME 1996 in Sevilla, Spain).


Sierpinska,A.: 2002, Perspectives sur les recherches en didactique des mathématiques. Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik 34(4), 164-174.

Kilpatrick, J. and Sierpinska, A.: 2001, CIEM, A reporton the ICMI Study: «What is research in mathematics education and what are its results». L'Enseignement Mathématique 47, pp. 409-411.

Sierpinska, A., Dreyfus, T. Hillel, J. (1999): Evaluation of a Teaching Design in Linear Algebra: The Case of Linear Transformations.  Recherches en Didactique des Mathématiques 19.1, 7-40.

Sierpinska, A.(1997): Formats of Interaction and Model Readers. For the Learning of Mathematics 17.2, 3-12.

Sierpinska, A. & Hillel, J.: 1997, ‘Undergraduate linear algebra: Developing algebraic sense in students‘, News of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education 24.1, 23-25.

Sierpinska, A. (1996): Trzy podejscia do problemu komunikacji w nauczaniu matematyki, Dydaktyka Matematyki 18, 5-28.

Sierpinska, A. (1995): Some reflections on the phenomenon of French didactique,  Journal für Mathematik-Didaktik 16, 3/4,163-192.

Sierpinska, A. (1995): Mathematics: "in Context", "Pure" or "with Applications"? A contribution to the question of transfer in the learning of mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics 15, 1,pp. 2-15. 

Sierpinska, A. (1994): Perspektywa diachroniczna w badaniach nad rozumieniem w matematyce. Uzytecznosc i ograniczenia pojecia przeszkody epistemologicznej. Dydaktyka Matematyki 16, pp. 73-101.

Sierpinska, A., Kilpatrick, J., Balacheff, N., Howson,A.G., Sfard, A., Steinbring, H. (1993): What is research in mathematics education and what are its results? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 23 (3), 274-279.

Sierpinska, A. (1993). On the development of concepts according to Vygotski. FOCUS on Learning Problems in Mathematics, 15.2-3.

Sierpinska, A. (1992): O powstawaniu przeszkód epistemologicznych zwiazanych z pojeciem nieskonczonosci u dzieci 10-12 i 14-letnich. Dydaktyka Matematyki 13,253-309. (On constitution of epistemological obstacles related to infinity in10-12 and 14 years old children. In Polish).

Sierpinska, A. (1992): What stands under «understanding»? Acta Didactica Univ. Comenianae. Mathematica 1, 1-28.

Sierpinska,A. (1991): Quelques idées sur la méthodologie de la recherche en didactique des mathématiques liée à la notion d'obstacle épistémologique. Cahiers de Didactique des Mathématique 7 (Tetradia Didaktikes tonMatematikon), Thessalonique.

Sierpinska,A. (1990):  Propozycja pewnej sytuacji dydaktycznej w zakresie nauczania poczatków analizy matematycznej. Dydaktyka Matematyki 12, 143-192 (A didactical situation for the teaching of beginnings of mathematical analysis -presentation and report of a classroom realization) - in Polish.

Sierpinska, A. (1990): Some remarks on understanding in mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics 10 (3),  24-36.

Sierpinska, A. (1989): Why are they mentally handicapped?- a translator's note. Recherches en Didactique des Mathematiques 10 (1), 111-118.

Sierpinska, A.(1988): 38.CIEAEM. Dydaktyka Matematyki 9,195-205 (in Polish).

Sierpinska, A. (1987): Humanities students and epistemological obstacles related to limits. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 18(4), 371-397.

Sierpinska, A. (1987): Pojecie przeszkody epistemologicznej w nauczaniu matematyki. Dydaktyka Matematyki 8, p. 103-153  (The notionof epistemological obstacle in mathematics teaching) - in Polish

Sierpinska,A. (1985): Obstacles épistémologiques relatifs à la notion de limite. Recherches en Didactique des Mathématiques 6(1), 5-68.

Sierpinska,A. (1985): O niektórych trudnosciach w uczeniu sie pojecia granicy - studiumprzypadku. Dydaktyka Matematyki 4,107-167 (On some difficulties in learning limits - a case study) - in Polish.

Sierpinska,A. (1983): Introduction à l'utilisation des calculatrices dans l'enseignementdes mathématiques. In  Calculatrices 4 Opérations, Publication del'APMEP No.31, Nouvelle édition, 161-190.

Sierpinska,A. (1980): K-completeness and its applications to radicals of semi-group rings.Demonstratio Mathematica, 13(3), 641-645.

Krempa, J. & Sierpinska, A. (1978): The Jacobson radical of certain group and semi-group rings. Bull. Acad. Pol. Sci. 26 (12), 963-967.

Sierpinska,A. (1973): Radicals of rings of polynomials in non-commutative  indeterminates. Bull. Acad. Polon. Sci.,21 (9), 805-808.

Papers in Refereed Conference Proceedings - 2007-2014

       Sierpinska,A., Bobos, G. and I. Pelczer (2014). Fostering quantitative operations injustifications of statements about fractions of quantities in prospective elementary teachers.  Proceedings of the 38th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vancouver,B.C., Canada, July 15-20, 2014, Vol. 6, p. 229.

Osana, H. & Sierpinska, A. (2011). Toward common ground: A framework for the investigation of mathematics methods courses. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, October 22-23, 2011. Reno, NV: PME-NA.

Hardy, N. & Sierpinska, A. (2011). Mathematical organization of some French and English algebra textbooks used in remedial courses in colleges and universities in North America. Actes du Colloque sur la Formation à la Recherche en Didactique des Mathématiques, UQÀM, à Montréal, le 24-26 mars, 2011 (pp.174-180). The paper can be viewed online at:

Sierpinska, A. (2011). Research into pre-service elementary teacher education courses. Plenary talk. In Proceedings of the Seventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Rzeszów, Poland, 9-13 February, 2011. M.Pytlak, T. Rowland, E. Swoboda (Eds.). (pp. 9-33). Rzeszów: The University ofRzeszów.

Sierpinska, A.: 2007, ‘I need the teacher to tell me if I am right or wrong’, Proceedings of the 31st  Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Seoul, South Korea, July 8-13, 2007,Vol. 1, pp. 45-64.

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