Renowned Action Researchers to Visit Campus for ARNA Conference May 23-24
Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle, who Moravian College Education Department Chair Joseph Shosh called “arguably our nation’s most important action researchers,” have been named keynote speakers for the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) annual conference set for May 23-24 on the College’s Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus.
The conference will feature presentations, roundtables and workshops by action researchers from around the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America, as well as from a variety of other countries. Conference presentations will be in English and Spanish. The event’s third keynote speaker, who will be Spanish-speaking, will be announced in the coming weeks.
While the conference program schedule is still being developed, proposals are being accepted until Saturday, March 15. Shosh, who serves as the conference’s co-chair with Kathy Bruce, a professor of mathematics education at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, encourages Moravian alumni and current students who have conducted research projects to share their findings.
In his own work, Shosh concentrates on teacher action research, but the conference’s topics are not limited to classroom subjects, he said. “While Moravian’s graduate education program focuses on action research for teachers, there will be a lot of interesting conversations for other professionals, including those who conduct research in health care and in business,” Shosh explained. “If possible, we want all of our alumni and students interested in practitioner research to attend and present if they can.”
Shosh believes the 250-plus expected conference attendees, hailing from across the Western Hemisphere, to benefit greatly from the presentations by Cochran-Smith and Lytle, who together co-authored a series of books on action research, including Inside/Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge, which Shosh called their “seminal text.” Cochran-Smith is the Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and director of the doctoral program in curriculum and instruction at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and also past president of the American Educational Research Association. Lytle is a professor emerita and retired dean of the Graduation School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Sometimes, when events are in your own backyard, you just don’t realize their magnitude or just take them for granted. It’s like people in New York who don’t go to Broadway,” Shosh said. “We want people to know that this is a wonderful event, with these leading American scholars delivering a keynote address right in our Foy Hall.”
In addition to the keynotes, the ARNA conference will host master classes in Peter Hall, with leaders in the field addressing different facets of the action research process. Among the presenters will be British scholar Jean McNiff, who gave last year’s ARNA conference keynote address, and Mary McAteer, a leading international mathematics researcher at Britain’s Edge Hill University.
“In fact, we recently realized that we will have the leading mathematics education researchers from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom at this conference,” Shosh pointed out.
While the conference will have an international appeal with participants from all over the globe, including a contingent from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, a public university in the Mexican state of Baja California, there will also be a distinctive Moravian feel.
ABOVE: Trent University professor and conference co-chair Cathy Bruce reviews art in storage from the Moravian College permanent collection for possible inclusion in the Payne Gallery exhibition curated by Assistant Professor of Art Kristin Baxter.
ABOVE: Ann Claussen, director of student activities and summer conference, leads a tour of one of Main Hall’s Victorian Parlors for host site committee co-chair Rachel Sherman ’12.
Nathan Snyder ’09, who works at the New York City iSchool in Soho, N.Y., will also be one of the conference’s presenters, as will recent graduates from the College’s Master of Education program. Kristin Baxter, assistant professor of art at Moravian, is planning an exhibition in the Payne Gallery aligned with the conference’s objectives. Local public school children and art teachers will response to works of art in the College’s collection, answering the question, “What does art mean and why does art matter?”
“In a sense, Payne Gallery will be set up as an action research project, where children and art teachers are making meaning of art and telling us why it is important,” Shosh explained.
Additionally, Shosh has reached out to the College’s Nursing Department so that recent nursing students might share their capstone projects. He has also invited Moravian Spanish majors to attend and interact with and serve as interpreters for the native Spanish speakers in attendance. (Organizers plan to offer simul-podcasts for translation purposes.)
“I would suspect when all is said and done that Moravian will have more presentations than anybody else because it will be our home field,” Shosh said. “There will be an incredibly strong Moravian presence.”
The pre-conference Action Research Study Day, slated for Thursday, May 22, is the first Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN)-sponsored Study Day on the East Coast in the Americas. For more information, click here. Action researchers including teachers, school counselors, community-based youth workers, healthcare professionals and other educators are invited to participate in the Study Day and the regular conference on May 23 and 24.
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