Angela Thompson, Ph.D.

  Assistant Professor
  708-235-2808 ext. 2808
  Office Location: F2431
  College: CAS
  Division of Computing-Mathematics and Technology

              I enjoy teaching at Governors State University because our students are extremely devoted to their education. Many of our students work full time and depend on our instructors to help them realize their full potential. This is an awesome responsibility that I hope to fulfill through my devotion to education. I strive to meet students’ needs for learning challenging material by modifying my instruction to maximize their interactions with myself and their peers. I believe that people learn best when they can talk to each other about meaningful and intellectually rich topics. In my classes, I try to engage all students in the course material in ways that will allow them to express their questions in a supportive and non-threatening environment.

            My research interests are centered on how people learn mathematics. I believe that communication is the key to learning in all fields, especially mathematics. It is impossible to learn or teach mathematics without serious attention to language and communication. The common myth that mathematics is independent of language has been one of my favorite issues to address. I challenge anyone to teach or learn complex mathematical topics without effective use of language for reading, writing and speaking. Some argue that mathematics has its own language but if this is true, then we must address the fact that there is an element of second language learning as well as the goal of attaining conceptual understanding. Translating mathematical concepts into spoken and written language entails more than manipulation of numbers and symbols. If learners are non-native English speakers, there is an additional challenge they face when attempting to master mathematical concepts. My research and teaching methods represent an attempt to bridge this difficulty for all learners, whether they are native English speakers or not.

            The most rewarding aspect of my academic research is the involvement of my students. I have introduced a supplemental instruction model that entails the creation of a new position for a student instructor who works hand-in-hand with me to provide assistance to my students in mathematics courses. I have also partnered with students to present research at conferences that is based on the supplemental instruction model I use for my mathematics class. The most rewarding aspect of this is that it has improved success rates for students in my classes. These results inspire me to continue my research efforts to find more ways that can lead to student success in mathematics.


            Twenty years ago I committed myself to the inspiring and hard work of equity in mathematics education and I have not wavered: all of my publications, research, conference presentations, and classroom materials I use and design are about, for, and with Latino and English learners. Yet, it is doubtful a person can be effective in equity work in isolation. I draw heavily on the knowledge and experience from when I was a Research Fellow for the Center for Mathematics Education for Latinos (CEMELA), a National Science Foundation Center for Teaching and Learning.

            I have also been a high school mathematics teacher in Houston, Texas where almost all of my students were bilingual Spanish/English speakers, and I taught for three years at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan as a professor of English. Both of these positions inform my experience as a teacher of mathematics and have shown me the importance of attending to language issues in all academic content areas.


  • 2012    Ph.D. Mathematics Education

                        University of California, Santa Cruz

  • 2001    M.Ed. Second Language Education

            Secondary Teaching Credential: Mathematics/Psychology

            University of Houston

  • 1993    B.A. Psychology

                        University of Colorado, Boulder