Concordia University

https://www.concordia.ca/content/concordia/en/artsci/math-stats/faculty.html

Helena P. Osana, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Education

Concordia University Research Chair in Mathematical Cognition and Instruction
Office: S-FG 6413 
Faubourg Ste-Catherine Building,
1610 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2543
Email: helena.osana@concordia.ca

Biography

Dr. Osana, Concordia University Research Chair in Mathematical Cognition and Instruction, is an educational psychologist who investigates children’s thinking in mathematics and the instructional factors that impact their learning. Her recent focus is on how children interpret and use external knowledge representations, such as concrete objects (i.e., “manipulatives”), drawings, and standard written notation. Cognitive underpinnings of the research include the development of children’s symbolization, analogical reasoning, conceptual and procedural knowledge, and relational thinking, all of which inform Dr. Osana’s work on the effects of instructional interventions. Her research is conducted with teachers and children in classroom settings. She brings her research findings to professional development settings to support teachers’ classroom practice in the areas of fractions, place value, number sense, and counting. 

Education

Ph.D. (Educational Psychology), University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1998
M.A. (Mathematics and Science Education), University of British Columbia, 1989
B.Sc. (Mathematics and Statistics), McGill University, 1986


Research activities

Current Projects

Osana, H. P., & Proulx, J. Fostering conceptual understanding of number and place value with manipulatives. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Osana, H. P. Instructional factors affecting the development of integrated mathematical knowledge in second-grade students. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Bisanz, J., Osana, H. P., & Sherman, J. Improving children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Mathematics Teaching and Learning Lab

In the Mathematics Teaching and Learning Lab (MTLL), we conduct research on children’s thinking in mathematics and on ways to support their learning in the classroom.
 
Our work spans preschool to eighth grade, and many of our projects are conducted in school classrooms. We study ways that children create and interpret mathematical representations, such as drawings, concrete objects (i.e., “manipulatives”), and standard mathematical notation. The cognitive underpinnings of our research include the development of children’s symbolization, analogical reasoning, and the relationship between conceptual and procedural knowledge. Such cognitive frameworks inform the design of teaching strategies that support children’s learning in mathematics.

Horizon Post-doctoral Fellow

Anne Lafay, Ph.D., Université Laval

Recent Collaborators

Martha W. Alibali, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Jeffrey Bisanz, University of Alberta

Donna Kotsopoulos, Huron College at Western

Jo-Anne LeFevre, Carleton University

Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Utah State University

Jérôme Proulx, Université du Québec à Montréal

Anna Sierpinska, Concordia University

Jennifer Suh, George Mason University

David Uttal, Northwestern University

Students

Emmanuelle Adrien. Program: PhD Education
Benefits of Targeting Specific Fraction Concepts to Help Students Solve Word Problems

Alexandra Kindrat. Program: PhD Education
The Effects of a Classroom Intervention on the Relational Thinking of Seventh-Grade Students

Nicole Pitsolantis. Program: PhD Education
Supporting Meaningful Use of Manipulatives in Kindergarten: The Role of Dual Representation

Aryann Blondin. Program: MA Child Studies
Examining Children’s Use of Different Types of Concrete Representations in a Novel Numeration System

Katherine Foster. Program: MA Child Studies
Effects of Context on Fourth-Graders’ Performance on Fractions Problems

Anna Tomaszewski. Program: MA Child Studies
Using Implicit and Explicit Structure Mapping to Support Understanding of Fraction Division in the Seventh-Grade

Richard Drapeau. Program: MA Child Studies
The Role of Procedural Knowledge in Children’s Mathematics Learning

Sophie Lemieux. Program: B.Sc. Honors Psychology
Linguistic, Quantitative, and Attentional Predictors of Learning Mathematics in a Second Language


Recent Graduates

Brittany Rappaport, 2017, MA Child Studies
Assessing Students’ Conceptual Understanding of Place Value with the Video Evaluation Task

Kim Desmarais, 2015, MA Child Studies
Examining the Types of Problem Solving Strategies Used by Children with Intellectual Disabilities During Modified Schema Based Instruction

Vanessa Rayner, 2015, PhD Education
Developing Preservice Teachers’ Professional Noticing of Students’ Learning

Danielle Houstoun, 2014, MA Child Studies
Effects of a Connections Approach on Preservice Teachers’ Conceptual Understanding of the Bar Diagram Symbol

Eva Sokol, 2013, MA Child Studies
The Effects of Instructional Exposure on Second-graders’ Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence

Emmanuelle Adrien, 2012, MA Child Studies
Individual Differences in Second-graders’ Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence

Katarzyna Przednowek, 2012, MA Child Studies
The Impact of Direct Instruction with Manipulatives on Conceptual Understanding of Addition Procedures in First-grade Students

Allyson Cooperman, 2012, MA Child Studies
The Impact of Direct Instruction on Quantitative Representations of Manipulatives in the Context of First-graders’ Learning of Place Value Concepts

Diana Royea, 2012, MA Child Studies
Instructional Factors that Enhance and Inhibit the Development of Preservice Teachers’ Conceptual and Procedural Knowledge of Fractions

Symposium

Osana, H. P., Host (January 17, 2017). SM2ART: Supporting Meaningful Mathematics Action Through Research and Training, Concordia University, Montreal, QC.


Publications

Selected Publications

Kindrat, A., & Osana, H. P. (in press). The relationship between mental computation and relational thinking in the seventh-grade. Fields Mathematic Education Journal.

Osana, H. P., & Proulx, J. (in press). A tale of two researchers: Points of common interest and contrast in a collaborative study on the mathematical thinking of preservice teachers. Journal of Numerical Cognition.

Osana, H. P., Przednowek, K., Cooperman, A., & Adrien, E. (2017). Encoding effects on first-graders’ use of manipulatives. Journal of Experimental Education, 1-19.

Osana, H. P., Adrien, E., & Duponsel, N. (2017). Effects of instructional guidance and sequencing of manipulatives and written symbols on second graders’ numeration knowledge. Education Sciences, 7(2), 52-74.

Osana, H. P., & Duponsel, N. (2016). Manipulatives, diagrams, and mathematics: A framework for future research on virtual manipulatives. In P. Moyer-Packenham (Ed.), International perspectives on teaching and learning mathematics with virtual manipulatives (pp. 95-120). New York, NY: Springer.

Osana, H. P., & Pitsolantis, N. (2013). Addressing the struggle to link form and understanding in fractions instruction. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 29-56.


Recent Conference Presentations

Foster, K., & Osana, H. P. (2018). What’s not equal about equal sharing? Effects of context on fourth-graders’ performance on fractions problems. American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York, NY.

Osana, H. P., Blondin, A., Alibali, M. W., & Donovan, A. M. (2018). The affordances of physical manipulatives on second-graders’ learning of number and place value. American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York, NY.

Kindrat, A. N., & Osana, H. P. (2018). The effects of a mental mathematics intervention on seventh-graders’ relational thinking. American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York, NY.

Foster, K., & Osana, H. P. (October 2017). Pretending wogs are logs: Exploring contextual effects of equal sharing problems in fourth-graders. North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA), Indianapolis, IN.

Osana, H. P., & Blondin, A. (October 2017). The relationship between dual representation of written numerals and place value knowledge in the first and second grades. Cognitive Development Society, Portland, OR. 

Tomaszewski, A., & Osana, H. P. (July 2017). Manipulatives as analogs: One second-grade teacher’s use of cognitive supports during instruction on numeration. Fourth Analogy Conference, Paris, France.

Osana, H. P., Duponsel, N., Adrien, E., & Foster, K. (April 2017). Supporting fourth-grade students' representations and solution strategies for equal sharing problems. American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Antonio, TX.

Blondin, A., Tomaszewski, A., & Osana, H. P. (April 2017). Teachers’ use of instructional analogies with manipulatives in the second-grade classroom. American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Antonio, TX.

Desmarais, K., Osana, H. P., & Adrien, E. (June 2016). The problem-solving strategies used by children with intellectual disabilities during Schema Based Instruction. Jean Piaget Society, Chicago, IL.

Osana, H. P., & Pitsolantis, N. (April 2016). Supporting Kindergarten children's dual representation: Meaningful use of mathematics manipulatives. American Educational Research Association (AERA), Washington, DC.

Royea, D., Nicol, C., & Osana, H. P. (July 2015). “Borrowing from the neighbour”: Preservice teachers’ interpretations of student errors. Thirty-ninth meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), Hobart, Australia.

Adrien, E., Duponsel, N., & Osana H. P. (April 2015). Effects of explanations and presentation order of manipulatives and written symbols in second-grade addition instruction. American Educational Research Association (AERA). Chicago, IL.

Osana, H. P., Adrien, E., Cooperman, A., Coret, M., Hosan, N., Kong, R. W., LeVos, J. S., Piatt, C., Valle, A., & Bisanz, J. (April 2015). Translating research on instruction and professional development into student learning about mathematical equivalence. American Educational Research Association (AERA). Chicago, IL.

Osana, H. P., Houstoun, D., & Desmarais, K. (May 2014). Le raisonnement quantitatif et la résolution de problème des futurs enseignants. Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences (ACFAS), Montreal, QC.

Osana, H. P., & Sokol, E. (April 2014). The effects of exposure to problems in symbolic contexts: The case of the equal sign. American Educational Research Association (AERA). Philadelphia, PA.

Osana, H. P., Proulx, J., Adrien, E., & Nadeau, D. (November 2013). Developing relational thinking in preservice teachers. North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA), Chicago, IL.

Przednowek, K., Osana, H. P., Cooperman, A., & Adrien, E. (November 2013). Introducing manipulatives: To play or not to play. North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA), Chicago, IL.

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