Travis Weiland

Professional Title
Assistant Professor
About Me (Bio)
My career in education began with teaching high school mathematics in the mountains of Western North Carolina. During that time, I began working on a master's degree, which I ended up taking graduate courses in statistics for. I had never taken a course in statistics for my undergraduate course work despite being a mathematics major, yet I had been teaching statistics concepts for years to students. Taking those courses made me realize not only how little I understood statistics, but that I had been doing a terrible job of teaching those concepts to students for years. It was this realization that motivated me to pursue a PhD in Mathematics Education to investigate the question of how can we improve the statistical education of students in schools?

All my work stems from two main principles: that education is transformative, and the goal of public education is for democratic equality. More specifically, my research is focused on issues of equity, including the consideration of issues of access, achievement, identity and power, at their intersection with statistics and data science education. I view teacher education as one of the primary levers for transforming the learning experiences of students, which is why much of my work involves transformative research in pre-service teacher education and in the continued education of practicing teachers. I take a design approach in my research to investigate how to co-construct learning environments with teachers to learn statistics through investigating sociopolitical issues and to translate such learning experiences into their mathematics classrooms. I frame my work through a critical statistical literacy lens drawing from the critical literacy work of Paulo Freire to consider how to support teachers and students in reading and writing the word and the world with statistics. To achieve the goal of a critically data literate citizenry, I partner with teachers, school districts, curriculum specialists, and experts across disciplines and fields with a focus on systemic transformation.

Currently much of my time is focused on two granted funded projects. The first is Designing Modules to Support the Development of Mathematics Pre-Service Teachers’ Critical Consciousness through Statistical Investigations of Systemic Racism (NSF DUE-2121364). In this project our cross institutional team is developing and testing instructional modules for mathematics courses for pre-service teachers designed to support students' development of statistical literacy through the investigation of issues of systemic racism including traffic stops and school discipline. The goal of this work is to normalize conversations about race and racism in the mathematics classroom. The second project is the recently funded CAREER: Designing Meaningful Learning Experiences for Statistical Literacy in Secondary Mathematics (NSF DRL-2143816). In this project I am partnering with two school districts to support a cohort of twenty mathematics teachers in developing their statistical literacy and critical pedagogy and translating that learning into the opportunities they provide their students to learn statistics. Our research team will follow these teachers over several years to develop theories of learning that can be translated to other teacher education settings.
University of Houston (UH)

This project examines the development of statistical literacy that combines statistical reasoning and thinking. The project will use professional learning communities for teachers to learn about statistical literacy and develop learning experiences for their students. The project will engage students and teachers in finding meaningful ways to use statistical reasoning to make data-based arguments and reason about patterns they observe in society.