About Professor Siegler

Robert Siegler is Schiff Foundations Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research focuses on the development of mathematical thinking. Dr. Siegler has published more than 250 articles and chapters, written 13 books, and edited 4 others. His books have been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, German, Spanish, French, Greek, and Portuguese.

Much of Dr. Siegler’s research focuses on how theoretical understanding of mathematical development can be applied to improving children’s math learning. His studies examine how children’s representations of numbers influence their ability to learn whole number arithmetic, fractions, and other topics in mathematics. Among the issues examined in this work are how representations of numbers change with age and experience, types of mathematical experiences that are especially helpful in producing improvements, the strategies that children use to solve mathematical problems, why some children are more mathematically proficient than others, and how children discover new strategies for solving math problems.

This research has led to practical applications of the findings. For example, it suggested that certain types of numerical board games would be especially helpful for improving young children’s numerical understanding. Experimental tests of this prediction yielded encouraging results; playing the board games yielded large, rapid, and enduring gains in preschoolers’ and young elementary school children’s numerical understanding. The gains were especially large among preschoolers from low-income backgrounds. Recent research of Dr. Siegler with fractions has stimulated the development of computer games that help older children overcome the many difficulties they have with fractions. To view a 5-minute video in which Dr. Siegler discusses children’s understanding of fractions, click here.

The contribution of Dr. Siegler’s research has been recognized in numerous ways. He has been awarded the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, been elected to the National Academy of Education, and been chosen as one of the 40 most distinguished graduates of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He has been the Tisch Distinguished Visiting Professor at Columbia University, the Brotherton Lecturer at the University of Melbourne (Australia), the Astor Lecturer at Oxford University (England), and received an honorary doctorate from University of Leuven (Belgium). Dr. Siegler also has been invited to give keynote addresses at more than 50 conferences, including ones in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, China, Chile, Brazil, Australia, and Iceland.

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