TC students and faculty attend AERA conference in Vancouver ☆

On April 13-17, a group of TC Social Studies students and faculty joined other researchers and scholars from across the country at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. AERA is a national research society, striving to advance knowledge about education through scholarly inquiry in an effort to improve education and serve the public good.

Held in Vancouver, BC, the conference centered around the theme “To Know Is Not Enough.” Presentations, panels, and other events were aimed at promoting discussion on how the organization’s members are operationalizing AERA’s mission, as well as present new ideas on how the education research community can ensure that research knowledge is used to improve education.

Presenters emphasized innovative approaches to educational research, reviewed literature on how other organizations use research to improve education and serve the public good, analyzed poststructural critiques on the promotion of educational research, and explored the future of AERA’s mission.

Social Studies doctoral student Aviv Cohen attended the conference and participated in a professional development workshop titled “The Use of Theory in Qualitative Research,” which he describes as a great opportunity. “In this workshop I got a chance to engage in conversations with some of the leading figures in this field and hear about different aspects of numerous educational and research theories.”

Cohen has no doubt that this workshop will have an influence on his own dissertation, as it expanded his awareness of different ways to look at his own research.

Ellen Livingston, another attendee representing TC’s doc students, was a presenter at the conference. She presented the findings of her dissertation pilot study, “Skimming the Surface: Documentary Film in the Social Studies classroom.”

In addition, she particularly enjoyed a session called “The Challenges of Being a Good Citizen and a Good Teacher: Lessons From the Wisconsin Protests,” in which classroom teachers shared their experiences during last year’s protests against attempts by the state government to eliminate collective bargaining rights for unions. “The session was an important reminder that real learning doesn’t take place only in classrooms, and that playing an active role in civic life is really what social studies education is all about.”

Ms. Livingston was also grateful for the opportunity to see some old TC friends, including Prof. Margaret Crocco and recent doctoral graduates Jennifer Cutsforth and Li-Ching Ho.

Doctoral student Yoonjung Choi gave a paper presentation called “Voices from Korean American Social Studies Teachers: Toward Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” as well as a roundtable presentation titled “Model Minority Myth and Korean Immigrant Students in US Schools.” Choi was pleased to present her paper, which was grouped with others dealing with the socioculturally situated experiences of teachers, right after her dissertation defense. “I was able to have rich, meaningful conversations with other presenters and share my thoughts during and after the session.”

Choi also had a hand in the organization and administration of the conference through her role as co-section chair of Div B Curriculum Studies and Section 2 Globalization, Decolonization, and Liberation for the past year, an experience she describes as absolutely exciting. “I, with tremendous support from advanced scholars and Div B officers and program chairs, reviewed conference proposals, selected papers and symposiums, and organized sessions of Div B. Throughout the process, I was able to learn conference organization and administration, read outstanding papers and their fresh ideas in the curriculum studies field, and more than anything else, meet great people that I admire and respect in the field. It was very exciting for me to see that the sessions and events that I planned and organized were actually executed and went smoothly.”

Dr. William Gaudelli, Associate Professor and Social Studies program director, thought the conference was great as it demonstrated the strong presence that the TC Program in Social Studies maintains nationally, evidenced by the many panels involving TC faculty and students. “Particularly enjoyable was the many international scholars who presented at the conference and contributed to broadening the conversations.