Professor Profiles


Steven Khan, PhD, MEd, BSc

Assistant Professor


Elementary Education

About Me

I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. (home to Amerindian populations including the Warao and Kalinago) and come from a family of educators. After my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Botany from the University of the West Indies, where I did early research on extremophilic organisms in the La Brea Asphalt Lake supervised by Dr. Lois Sealy, I taught Mathematics, Biology and Writing at Presentation College San Fernando. In 2004 I came to Canada on a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a thesis based M.Ed at Queens University (Kingston, ON, traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples) on Dialogical Relations in a Mathematics Classroom supervised by Dr. Geoffrey Roulet and Dr. William Higginson. I returned to Trinidad and worked alongside Dr. Maria Byron at the UWI, St. Augustine School of Education in pre and in-service mathematics teacher education. In 2008 I returned to Canada where I completed doctoral work - Rehearsing a Maroon Mythopoetics in Mathematics Education - in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy where I was an inaugural recipient of a SSHRC Vanier Graduate Scholarship at UBC (Vancouver, unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples,[11] including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations) co-supervised by Dr. Brent Davis and Dr. Susan Gerofsky. I designed graduate courses and co-taught alongside Dr. Davis within the Mathematics-4-Teaching (M4T) cohorts in Vancouver and Calgary. In 2013 I was a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Werklund School of Education (University of Calgary,  traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations) involved in the Canadian Oil Sands Early Mathematics Initiative (COSEMI) in partnership with JUMPMath and a Calgary School Board working on-site with teachers to understand and implement changes to their mathematics teaching practice and awareness. In 2014 I drove the 3000+km from Calgary to St. Catharines, ON with two (literal) guinea pig companions to take up an Instructional Limited Term Appointment (ILTA) at Brock University (St. Catharines, traditional territory of Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples) in the Department of Teacher Education working alongside Dr. Joyce Mgombelo. Together with Dr. Joanne Graham I developed the two courses in the new two year Consecutive B.Ed Elementary program and saw their first complete run through as well as implemented a math refresher for pre-service elementary teacher candidates in partnership with Vretta. In 2017 I began this tenure-track position here at the University of Alberta, Edmonton (Treaty 6 territory and a traditional meeting ground and home for many Indigenous Peoples, including Cree, Saulteaux, Niisitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, and Nakota Sioux).
I am currently a member of CMASTE (The Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education).

Personal Interests: I am an amateur Squash player, lover of popular mythologies (think Comics, Science Fiction & Fantasy), dad, and husband.             


Research Areas:

Complexity Thinking, Vulnerability Studies, Ethics, Ethnomathematics, Enactivism, Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, Computational Thinking, Spatial Reasoning, Mythopoetic Curriculum, Decolonizing Education, Popularization & Popularizers of Mathematics, Equity, Open Education Resources, 


I frame my approach to face-to-face and online teaching as engaging in “conversations that require more of us.” My goal as a teacher is to engage students towards an end of forming responsible and resilient relationships with and among the different and diverse people, places, thoughts, techniques and things that constitute the differentiated embodiments and networks of flows that comprise the ‘Learning Bodies’ of the subjects and objects of Study. This approach is influenced by my belief that effective teaching occasions learning by engaging individuals in effortful practices of constructing meaningful knowledge via recursively elaborative opportunities to learn from example spaces that are designed to exhibit relevant variation and which serve as ongoing prompts for individual and collective study. I take my role then as providing intellectually and emotionally resonant learning occasions that allow for the mindful development and deployment of students’ critical, analytic, hermeneutic and poetic selves that deepen and widen one’s knowledge while inspiring individual and collective activism through being-and-dwelling-well-with-others. At all times I am mindful of the need for respectful engagement. I continuously consider how what I do is equitable, responsible and ‘fit’ to the particular learning community and to individual students and work to accommodate individual differences and adapt curricular material and pedagogical approaches to the particular educational eco-system of which I am a part. 

I have worked with students to mindfully tend the seeds of their ‘difficult knowledges’ and anxiety inducing uncertainties in deepening their practice of mathematics education. On such occasions I believe that it is in the willingness of students to responsibly engage their ethical, analytic and creative imaginations with others, that facilitates an opening of their vulnerable selves to unexpected, and sometimes startling, possibilities for their practices as educators in and out of school. Such occasions, I believe, offer students opportunities to commit themselves to critically, creatively and responsibly negotiate issues involving sustainability, social in/justice and diversity, among others, and invite them to envision the not-as-yet and to imagine and narrate a world and self, different and better, from that which already exists through mathematics and mathematics education. I also believe that learners’ knowledge and identities co-evolve with and in the multiply situated ecologies they participate in creating. To this end, I am committed to engaging and drawing upon the embodied, psychological and socio-cultural histories – the multiple and complex funds of knowledge – of the diverse learners in my physical and virtual classrooms.

About Learning

Over the course of the last decade I am able to articulate how I think about learning:

Learning (mathematics specifically but other skilled enacted activity in general) involves the coherent collection, connection and curation (critical selection / evaluation / appraisal / preservation) of a sufficiently large number of meaningful and diverse experiences of powerful and relevant ideas that consistently entail and elicit curiosity, challenge, communication, collaboration, creation and compassion resulting in diverse expressions of competencies, fluencies, literacies and proficiencies necessary for human flourishing and dignity, now and in the always uncertain future.