Dr. Osama Taani

November 26th, 2013 by Tim

Inspired by his father, an archaeologist, and his love of history, Dr. Osama Taani was born and grew up in a historical town in Jordan (one of the “Decapolis,” the Graeco-Roman confederation of ten cities).

After finishing high school in Jordan, Dr. Taani moves to Iraq to study mathematics. At the University of Mosul, he pursues his graduate studies in applied mathematics in the College of Computer and Mathematical Sciences and earned his MSc in Numerical Optimization in 2001. Dr. Taani returned to his hometown in Jordan to teach elementary and secondary mathematics in the Ministry of Education. He then moved to Saudi Arabia to teach elementary and middle school mathematics. While in Saudi Arabia he implemented the Interactive Learning System and taught the American curricula bilingually.

Wanting to pursue his PhD in Financial Mathematics, Dr. Taani moved to New Mexico State University to study and do research. He taught mathematics courses in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and at a local high school.  After teaching mathematics in different levels and several countries, he found that his new field (Financial Mathematics) might isolate him from students and embed him in industry. Dr. Taani realized that helping students to break the anxiety wall, which prevents students from enjoying the benefits of real life mathematics, is what makes him happy. He decided to change his plan and research interest to mathematics education. Dr. Taani decided to integrate history of mathematics in mathematics education. His research focuses on using original sources in classroom teaching. As the famous mathematician Niels Henrik Abel observed: It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. By doing so, students will live and enjoy the experience of mathematical creations, without an intermediary interpreter. Dr. Taani, in his recent paper, showed that how incorporating the history of mathematics in his teaching provides students with both flexible thinking and opportunities for comparison, as well as improved creative thinking while creating a network of ideas.

In Summer 2011, he moved from New Mexico to New Hampshire to start his career at PSU. Dr. Taani teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers in online and face-to-face formats. He uses many different pedagogical tools to help students learn. Manipulatives are used extensively to enrich students’ pedagogical and content knowledge, historical sources are integrated, technology is used to support learning, and both the flipped classroom model and Inquiry Based Learning model are implemented.

In addition to participating in several campus-wide committees, Dr. Taani serves as the mathematics graduate programs coordinator. He also interacts and serves the international students body at PSU and ELS center. Outside of classroom he keeps busy with his wife and three children. He enjoys hiking, fishing, traveling, and canoeing. Dr. Taani is pleased to work at PSU and enjoys living in the Plymouth community that he describes as a great place to work, live, and raise kids.