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TC at AERA 2007



TC's Hervé Varenne, Professor of Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, together with Ray McDermott and Shelley Goldman, both of Stanford University, has received the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award, given for the highest quality of academic scholarship for a paper published in an AERA journal during the 2006 volume year.

The following is a partial list of presentations by Teachers College faculty, students and staff at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Where possible, links are provided to the full papers or presentations.

Emily Ackman (Doctoral Candidate, Politics and Education) with John Dayton and Anne Dupre

"Taking Bullying Seriously"  [Download paper as PDF]

Bullying is a continuing national epidemic in U.S. schools, with millions of children subjected to painful humiliation, psychological harm, physical injury and even murder. Bullying can result in suicide by the victim as well. Nonetheless, bullying is often dismissed as a normal part of life in schools. Many states lack anti-bullying statutes, and in the 18 states that have statutes, educators are often unaware that policies exist, or have not read the policies. This study includes an analysis of statutes, regulations and policies aimed at mitigating bullying in schools. It suggests ways to improve laws protecting students. 

Gayle Allen, doctoral student, Department of Curriculum and Teaching
"Teachers and Web 2.0 Technologies: Perceptions and Transformations"
This qualitative case study focused on five K-12 teachers who use Web 2.0 technologies (Web logs, wikis, podcasts and RSS feeds) in their practice. The purpose was to examine teachers' perceptions of their experiences with these technologies by analyzing interview, email, reflective activity, Web log, wiki, podcast and RSS feed data over six months. Several teachers underwent either a sudden or gradual transformative learning experience with these tools with regard to their teacher roles in and/or out of the classroom. Several participants contended that online learning communities, via Web log or podcast, provided timely, individualized professional development. Results can inform school technology purchasing, teacher professional development, teacher education programs and qualitative research methods.

Dawn Arno, Director, Teachers College Education Zone Partnership

"A Validation Study for the Reading Buddies Survey" [Download paper as PDF]

The Teachers College Reading Buddies program provides one-on-one tutorial for third graders attending public schools in Harlem who had previously scored in the bottom quartile of their class on the English Assessment level. The tutees receive reading remediation for 25 minutes a day, five days a week, throughout the school year. The Reading Buddies are Teachers College students who attend initial training workshops, prior to their field placement, to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively work with school children. This paper documents preliminary findings of a survey created to evaluate the tutees' literacy progression, based on the observations of the Buddies themselves. The survey addresses issues such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Xin Bai, Project director of Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT) & doctoral candidate at CCTE; John B. Black, Director of ILT and Cleveland E. Dodge Professor; Lance Vikaros, ILT research assistant and doctoral candidate at CCTE; Jonathan Vitale, ILT research assistant and doctoral candidate at Cognitive Studies; Daoquan Li, ILT research assistant and doctoral candidate at CCTE; Qing Xia, ILT research assistant and doctoral candidate at CCTE; Sungbong Kim, ILT research assistant  and doctoral candidate at Cognitive Studies; Seokmin Kang, ILT research assistant  and doctoral candidate at Cognitive Studies

"Learning in One's Own Imaginary World"

This paper details the implementation of an agent-based educational gaming environment that uses the REAL (Reflective Agent Learning Environment) cognitive framework. REAL provides an interactive learning environment that allows students to 1) construct their imaginary world; 2) reflect upon the quality of their understanding; 3) test it out in dynamically generated simulation games. Learners will develop knowledge and skills in the process of constructing their understanding of the subject domain, as well as through observing behaviors and consequences in the simulation games according to their design. The REAL framework stresses reflection as the critical component of thinking processes. The reflective agent's action is monitored by an expert agent, a pedagogical agent and a communication agent. With a rule-based reasoning engine and game engine embedded, REAL makes it easier for developers to model domain knowledge and develop simulation games that are otherwise time-consuming. Our studies show that this kind of learning environment engages students in learning and encourages collaboration among researchers in different areas.

Using a probability-based implementation, REAL-Business, students can help a store owner design business strategies to run an ice cream store. In Design Mode, students are provided with tools to view entities, such as possible events, as well as relations between entities, such as probabilities of an event happening after a certain condition. Students then complete procedural rules by reasoning about the likelihood of possible events in the game.  These facts and rules will guide the reflective agent's behavior in Game Mode (with two game levels) -- a simulated real world. Students use the Game Mode to analyze the performance of their agent, i.e. the rules they have created. Furthermore, students can refer to real-time store reports in Reflection Mode to inspect the results of their, self-generated, procedural rules.


William Gaudelli, Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education

"Citizenship Education: National and International Perspectives"

This paper addresses the increasing fluidity of jurisprudential discourse across national boundaries and the implications of this development for teaching citizenship that transcends national boundaries. 

"Dewey, Aesthetics and Social Issues"

This paper examines the potential for beauty framed with aesthetics as a criteria of vibrant democracy and democratic education; traces the notion of beauty and the aesthetics in Dewey's biography; and considers its implications for curriculum and pedagogy.

David Hansen, Professor of Philosophy and Education

"The Purposes of Teacher Education"

Hansen was the organizer of, and a presenter at, a symposium based on a wide-ranging section on purpose he has edited for the forthcoming Handbook of Research on Teacher Education (sponsored by the Association of Teacher Educators). He also received the 2007 John Dewey Society Outstanding Achievement Award, for contributions reflecting and extending the spirit and vision of Dewey's work, at the Annual John Dewey Society Meeting (held in conjunction with AERA). 

Jeanne Marie Iorio, Head Teacher, Rita Gold Center

"Quality Conversations: Rethinking Child-Adult Conversations as Aesthetic Experiences"

This paper is based on conversations between preschool-aged children and an adult, focusing on conversations as a means for children to express what it means to be alive. 

Jungah Kim, Doctoral Candidate, Teaching of English and English Education

"Narrative Performativity of the Autobiographical Reading and Writing Acts"

This paper explores the undecidable, transformative autobiographical selves in our everyday narratives. By investigating the idea of narrative "performativity" in autobiography, as well as questioning the methodologies inherent in self-representative reading and writing practices, this study seeks to open up the possibilities for challenging the labels that have been bequeathed to the bodies that were gendered, sexed, and racialized. Considering that our everyday reading and writing in the English classroom are governed by rules and rubrics, this paper attempts to reconfigure how the research of writing autobiography can interrupt, challenge, and dismantle the markers of certainty inherent in our everyday narratives, as both teachers and students count on the conventional way of understanding and essentializing their stories.  

Xiaodong Lin (Associate Professor of Technology and Education; Chair, AERA Committee of International Scholarship and Research)

"Enhancing American Educational Research through International Collaboration"

This presentation was designed to focus educators from around the world on mutually beneficial opportunities for international collaborative research. It included an examination of how different countries prioritize their educational policies towards math and science education and related efforts in order to improve their teacher work forces in these areas; how different countries make use of educational research findings and international research collaboration to improve their own math and science literacy; and existing formats and channels for promoting international collaboration, as well as barriers to that process.

Matthew Pittinsky, Ph.D candidate, Sociology and Education  

"Teacher Expectations as a Classmate Effect"

This paper analyzes a specific case of "classmate effects" by using social network analysis to test whether a teacher's expectations for any given student are significantly influenced by the teacher's expectations of the student's classmates -- particularly those classmates with whom she perceives the student to be friends. Research generally assumes that a teacher develops her expectations based on each student's achieved or ascribed characteristics.  Few studies analyze the existence of a classmate effect on teacher academic expectations, above and beyond the individual student. Pittinsky tests his hypothesis by formulating both regression-based and social network evolution models, using longitudinal sociometric (objective and cognitive), social-psychological and achievement data collected in four eighth-grade science classes taught by the same teacher. 

"Teacher Accuracy Perceiving Classroom Friendship Networks"

Teachers are important classroom actors who make a wide variety of consequential decisions that are likely influenced by their perceptions of who is friends with whom among students in the classroom. What often matters most in dictating teacher decision-making are the friendship relations a teacher perceives, not necessarily student-reported friendships as they may exist in the classroom unperceived.  While a number of investigations into teacher sociometric perceptions were conducted during the 1940s and 1950s, little has been published since on this topic. In this paper, the authors revisit the question of sociometric accuracy. Specifically, they assess variability in the same teachers accuracy perceiving student friendship networks across multiple learning environments (class periods) and within learning environments over time.

Presented with Brian Carolan, Assistant Professor of Education. College of Staten Island, CUNY.  [Brian is a PhD graduate of the Soc of Ed program at TC] 

"eLearning Systems as Research Platforms: Results from the Networked Education Database (NED) Project"

Over the past ten years, school districts across the country have expanded their use of information systems to include "eLearning systems" that allow teachers to create and manage class Web sites. This paper details an innovative data collection project called the Networked Education Database (NED). As part of NED, during the 2006-2007 school year, approximately 732 students and 19 teachers in 37 classrooms are currently eligible to use their school's eLearning system to submit anonymous sociometric, social, psychological and student performance information, longitudinally, to a central database.  While certainly useful in addressing eLearning related research questions, the focus of NED is data collection for a wide range of traditional "offline social science" concerns.  The authors report on participation results from the first two (of three) data collection time periods, as well as on the logistical issues in operating a networked data-gathering system.

Presented with Gary Natriello, Hui Soo Chae, and Anthony Cocciolo, all of whom are with EdLab at Teachers College.

Charles Tocci, Ed.D candidate, Curriculum and Teaching; Research Associate, NCREST

"It takes a nexus: Supporting inquiry-based instruction in small high schools (with Elizabeth Johnson)"

This paper describes a "nexus of supports" necessary to successfully initiate and sustain inquiry in small schools. It begins with an analysis of classroom-level, inquiry-based instruction. From this analysis it moves outward to understand the school-level conditions which hinder or support inquiry approaches in classrooms.  This paper draws on multiple perspectives in order to develop images of inquiry in practice and describe a nexus of school-level conditions necessary for successful sustained implementation.

"Issues of Representation in the Case Studies on Teacher Induction: Just who are These Things About?"

This paper sketches major issues in the literature on teacher induction -- that is, the underlying debate about what is actually important in understanding and improving teacher induction -- as well as in the kinds of representations made in case studies. It presents a post-structuralist critique of those representations.  Some suggestions for future investigation and writing are posed. 

"Possibility & Assembly: Where Do Grades Come From?"

Grades (As, Bs and so on) are so commonplace that often they are taken as an inherent component of the processes of schooling.  But how did grades and grading become an essential aspect of schooling in the United States?  This paper traces the discourses of psychology and scientific management that altered the nature of schooling and assessment during the 19th century such that the student body -- and students' bodies --required new forms of disciplining.  Drawing on the works of Foucault, as well as of Deleuze and Guattari, it analyzes practices of grading as forms of knowledge and subjectivity that endure over a century after their solidification. 

Ye Wang, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education, Health and Behavior Studies

"Using Visual Phonics to Supplement Beginning Reading Instruction for Students Who Are Deaf/Hard or Hearing"

This study illustrates that kindergarten and first grade students who are deaf or hard of hearing could demonstrate improvements in beginning reading skills with the use of Visual Phonics, a system of 46 hand cues used in conjunction with spoken language. The system can be employed to augment auditory information and provide students with a multi-sensory (auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic) representation of phonemes in the English language. 

Po Yang, Ph.D. candidate, Economics and Education

"Can College Transfer Close the Racial Degree Attainment Gap?"

This paper provides new evidence about the effect of four-year transfer on racial difference in college outcomes. Using data from National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 data, the paper estimates effect of four-year transfers on degree completion and time to degree, given students' observed and unobserved characteristics. The estimates suggest Black and Hispanic students are less likely than observationally equivalent White or Asian students to attend college and earn a degree. While minority transfer students are not at a substantial graduation disadvantage relative to their White counterparts, their expected degree completion rates are significantly lower, due to their frequent participation of reverse transfer. College transfer is not likely to close the racial attainment gap for all minority students.   

"Variation in Returns to College Degree by Gender and Transfer Status"

Recent state polices encourage students to attend community college and less selective institutions for lower-division education, and to transfer subsequently to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, this paper empirically tests the economic consequence of college transfer on entry-level earning. The analysis shows that community college transfer and four- to four-year transfer associate with lower post-school earning, and that the negative effect is larger for male than female students. Return to Bachelor's degree is higher at relatively low earning level and vice versa. The negative effect of transfer becomes smaller and insignificant as one move towards the upper end of earning distribution.  

Varenne Shares in AERA Award

TC's Herv Varenne, Professor of Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, together with Ray McDermott and Shelley Goldman, both of Stanford University, has received the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award, given for the highest quality of academic scholarship for a paper published in an AERA journal during the 2006 volume year.

The paper jointly authored by the trio, "The Cultural Work of Learning Disabilities," was published in the August-September 2006 issue of Educational Researcher. It is an examination, in classrooms around the country, of "shifting currents of concern and tension that invite the attribution of labels for mental and/or minority-group status." It seeks to introduce a "language for cultural analysis" that can be used for "interpreting the interpretations of others."

Varenne is a cultural anthropologist whose major interests center on the processes that produce particular conditions for human beings in history, and their consequences. His most recent book, Successful Failure (written with McDermott and published by Westview), deals with the consequences of American schooling McDermott was a member of the Teachers College faculty from 1979 through 1989. Goldman earned her master's and doctoral degrees at TC.

To read visit "The Cultural Work of Learning Disabilities."

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