Prof. Abraham Arcavi was born in Argentina, where he earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics (1976). He received both his MSc (1981) and PhD (1986) from the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Science Teaching. He did postdoctoral work at the School of Education, University of California, Berkeley (1986-1988). He joined the Weizmann Institute as a Scientist in 1988, and today is the incumbent of the Lester B. Pearson Professorial Chair. He served as Head of the Department of Science Teaching between 2001-2005.
For many years, Prof. Arcavi worked with a team of curriculum developers and expert teachers in the design, implementation and research of user-friendly teaching methods that are comprehensible and applicable to the broad base of Israel’s student population. His research focused on competence in decoding and using representations (like symbols and graphs) and on visualization as central tools for understanding and doing mathematics. At present, Prof. Arcavi is heading the VIDEO-LM Project at the service of mathematics educators and practicing teachers. The project offers about 70 videotaped authentic math lessons and a framework for watching and discussing mathematical and pedagogical teaching practices thereof. Research conducted by a team of students and post-docs on many VIDEO-LM in-service courses and teacher communities indicate that the experiences enhance teachers’ professional knowledge and reflective capacities. A pilot study initiated in 2019 and ongoing, is extending VIDEO-LM into a new project in which teams of teachers collectively design lessons, try them out, analyze the recording of that lesson and redesign it.
Prof. Arcavi has collaborated with the Israeli Ministry of Education and with the Initiative for Applied Research in Education of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He serves on graduate program committees both locally and overseas; as a reviewer for national and international foundations, universities, and international journals; and he lectures and leads workshops and courses in Israel and abroad.
In 2016, Prof. Arcavi was re-elected for a four-year period as the Secretary General of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. In 2015, he was awarded a Friedenberg Foundation Prize by the Israel Science Foundation for a submitted grant proposal and in 2019 the Award for Interdisciplinary Excellence in Mathematics Education from the Texas A&M University.
He is married to Lidia, a physician. His daughter, Dafne, is a fringe theater actress and an English teacher in high school, and his son, Iair, is a an astrophysicist at Tel Aviv University. He likes to read in Spanish, English, and Hebrew and to travel (when possible), and above all to enjoy family life and especially his three lovely grandchildren, Daniel, Gaia and Ariel.