Nicholas Johnson

Nicholas Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

School of Teacher Education

San Diego

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Nick Johnson is an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. His work focuses on how people learn and on how classroom interactions position students as capable knowers and doers of mathematics. He is especially interested in how teachers’ understandings of children’s mathematical thinking can open opportunities to recognize children’s strengths and broaden what counts as competence. Nick earned his PhD in Education in the division of Urban Schooling at UCLA. He is a former elementary school teacher, instructional coach, and county office coordinator, and is co-author of Young Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction in Early Childhood Education.


Ph.D. in Education, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Johnson, N. C., Franke M. L., Webb N. M., Ing M., Burnheimer E. C., Zimmerman J. (2023). “What do you think she’s going to do next?” Irresolution and ambiguity as resources for collective engagement. Cognition and Instruction, 41(3), 348-380.
  • Johnson, N. C., Franke, M. L., & Turrou, A. C. (2022). Making competence explicit: Helping students take up opportunities to engage in math together. Teachers College Record, 124(11), 117-152. https://doi-org/10.1177/01614681221139532
  • Turrou, A. C., Johnson, N. C., & Franke, M. L. (2021). The young child and mathematics (3 rd ed). National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Stipek, D. J. & Johnson, N. C. (2020). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education redefined: The case of math. In S. Ryan, M. E. Graue, V. Gadsen, & F. Levine (Eds.), Advancing knowledge and building capacity for early childhood research (pp. 35-53). American Educational Research Association.
  • Johnson, N. C., Turrou, A. C., McMillan, B. G., Raygoza, M. C., & Franke, M. L. (2019). “Can you help me count these pennies?”: Surfacing preschoolers’ understandings of counting. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 21(4), 237-264.
  • Webb, N. M., Franke, M. L., Ing, M., Turrou, A. C., Johnson, N. C., & Zimmerman, J. (2019). Teacher practices that promote productive dialogue and learning in mathematics classrooms.
    International Journal of Educational Research, 97, 176–186.
  • Johnson, N. C. & Gaxiola, N. (2018). Preschool connections. In M. L. Franke, E. Kazemi, & A. C. Turrou (Eds.), Choral counting and counting collections: Transforming the preK-5 math classroom (pp. 141–158). Stenhouse.
  • Turrou, A. C., Franke, M. L., & Johnson, N. C. (2017). Choral counting. Teaching Children Mathematics, (24)2, 129–135.
  • Carpenter, T. P., Franke, M. L., Johnson, N. C., Turrou, A. C., & Wager, A. A. (2017). Young children’s mathematics: Cognitively guided instruction in early childhood education. Heinemann.


Current Projects

  • CAREER: Investigating Young Children's Opportunities to Learn Mathematics in Early Childhood Classrooms
    National Science Foundation
  • Rethinking Mathematics Classroom Observations: Connecting Interactions, Student Outcomes, and Teacher Practice
    National Science Foundation

Past Projects