Category Archives: Curriculum and Instruction

CEHD praised for work in educational technology at national Teacher Preparation Innovation Summit

Jean Quam and Cassie Scharber

The College of Education and Human Development was recently recognized for its leadership in the innovative use of technology to support learning of pre-service teachers by the U.S. Department of Education and ASCD at the Teacher Preparation Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C.

Dean Jean Quam and Cassie Scharber, associate professor of learning technologies, represented the University of Minnesota and CEHD at the event, where Joseph South, director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology, praised CEHD’s ongoing work to improve teaching with educational technology.

“America’s pre-service teachers must be prepared to use technology effectively in the classroom,” he said. “We are excited by the innovations we’re seeing at CEHD to ensure their pre-service teachers have opportunities to actively use technology to support learning and teaching through creation, collaboration, and problem solving.”

The summit brought together researchers, schools of education, district leaders, accreditors, and support organizations to advance four goals for educational technology in teacher preparation programs outlined in the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education.

“We are excited about the future of educational technology as a tool to enhance student success in a variety of teaching and learning environments,” said Quam. “It’s part of our core mission in CEHD to prepare all of our graduates to develop and use new technologies.”

Learn more about educational technology research and applications in CEHD’s Learning Technologies Media Lab and in the Office of Digital Education & Innovation.

The summit cosponsor, ASCD, is a global community of 125,000 members— including superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 128 countries—dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading.

J.B. Mayo, Jr. Receives Research Award for “Uncovering Queer Spaces in the Harlem Renaissance”

Jazz singer, Ethel Waters
Jazz singer, Ethel Waters

Each year, the  Institute on Diversity, Equity and Advocacy grants Multicultural Research Awards that “transform the University by enhancing the visibility and advancing the productivity of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and community scholars whose expertise in equity, diversity, and underrepresented populations will lead to innovative scholarship and teaching that addresses urgent social issues.”  Associate Professor in Curriculum & Instruction, J.B. Mayo, Jr., received one of the prestigious grants for his proposal to integrate LGBTQ history into the social studies curriculum that covers the Harlem Renaissance.

The research project entitled “Uncovering Queer Spaces During the Harlem Renaissance” is aimed at breaking the silence within social studies education about LGBT people, themes, and histories. Mayo plans to engage intersectional realities that include race, gender, and sexual orientation while helping teachers to be more inclusive of LGBT people, themes, and histories within their social studies classes.

Another goal of Mayo’s research is to allow LGBT students, and particularly queer students of color, to see themselves positively represented. He plans to conduct intensive archival research this summer in Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Black Culture to find the stories of gay artists of color working during the Harlem Renaissance. He will then co-create an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum with local social studies teachers that center on the chosen artists’ work and identities. The finished curriculum will be field tested in area social studies classes. Mayo plans to observe the lessons as they are taught and follow-up with interviews with the participating teachers and selected students to discuss their impressions and to gather their perceptions of the impact of these lessons, which are aimed at not only changing young people’s views of history, but diminishing homophobia within communities of color and in society more generally.

Find out more about the Department of Curriculum & Instruction’s commitment to diversity and social justice and the research degree in social studies education.





Second Language Education Student Receives Graduate School Summer Research Internship Grant

Corinne Mathieu, Ph.D. candiate in Second Language Education.

Corinne Mathieu, an MA/Ph.D. student in Second Language Education has been awarded the Graduate School Summer Research Internship Grant for summer 2016. 

Congratulations on your Graduate School Summer Research Internship Grant. Tell me a little about what you’ll be doing.
I’ll be working with an organization called add.a.lingua, a social impact education organization based in Holland, MI. They work with school districts to develop immersion programs. I’m helping them develop assessments on students’ language proficiency. With the internship grant, I’ll also be doing the study of my own, interviewing middle school immersion teachers to find out more about the materials they use in their classrooms.

How did you become interested in the field of Second Language Education?
Spanish was always my favorite class. I became very interested in linguistics and how languages are learned during my undergraduate education. But, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a teacher at that point.  I had wanted to be a bilingual librarian, initially. I went to the Peruvian Amazon during a summer break in college. I saw people who spoke indigenous language learning Spanish and English and was very interested in how they learned languages. Then, a job to teach English at a Quaker boarding school in Ohio came up and I decided to take it and put off my graduate studies for awhile. That’s when I became interested in teaching.

What do you hope to do after finishing your Ph.D. in Second Language Education?
I’m hoping to work in curriculum development with content-based instruction in immersion and foreign language programs. I don’t know if I want to be an education specialist or consultant with a school district. It’s just my first year in the program. I am very interested in how materials can reinforce positive pedagogy versus. one textbook for all.

How has your experience in the Ph.D. program in Second Language Education shaped your views on teaching?
After learning more about teaching in the program, there is definitely a lot I wish I could’ve done differently, but it’s also confirmed that I was on the right track in terms of content-based instruction. It’s very easy to get in one pattern as a teacher, but there are so many more nuances to teaching languages.

Read more about the Second Language Education program.

Literacy Ph.D. Student Wins Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle award

Anne Crampton, Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum & Instruction wins WPLC award.

Anne Crampton, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Literacy Education received the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle (WPLC) award for graduate students. The award is for women graduate students to recognize their achievements and successes in their field of interest. The criteria for the award includes academic achievements, community involvement, leadership, and passion for the academic and professional career of choice. 

Crampton’s research focus is in secondary critical literacy where she is currently looking at the student experience in both a large, urban high school and a small, urban charter school. “I think it is significant that we have such different experiences in schools, within and certainly across districts. I’m not comparing them, just trying to notice some of the plurality of schooling. Also, there can be negative stereotypes assigned to large, urban schools because people often don’t see the strengths of the students,” Crampton says.

After 15 years as a classroom teacher, Crampton pursued her Ph.D. in Literacy Education to have a better understanding of what shapes the education system and the root of inequity in the classroom. “Certain things kept me awake at night about what I didn’t think was fair or right. I wanted to understand it and be a part of the conversation in order to change it,” she noted.

Crampton’s Ph.D. studies have helped her make more sense of some of the arguments in public education and the urgency around them. She feels there are very positive and effective education techniques that offer the chance for a transformative learning experience. “I’d like other people to know that effective education does happen and it’s possible. People want to hear about successful education techniques in three words, but it’s complicated. Implementing new techniques takes support, an excellent teacher, flexibility, and the support of the school district.“

Crampton is particularly focused on the value of “aesthetic experiences” in the classroom, referring to big projects that students have a creative stake in that allow an aspect of performance, be it a podcast or a play. Citing the need for opportunities to engage emotionally and critically with ideas: “I think you can do all those things in many different disciplines,” Crampton believes these types of experiences in the classroom support the growth of the students as humans and honors their abilities.

Crampton plans to use her award to disseminate ideas and learn from her peers through conference travel and potentially support the purchase of additional Garage Band apps for classrooms in her research.

David and Roger Johnson honored with lifetime achievement awards

David & Roger JohnsonDavid Johnson, emeritus professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Roger Johnson, emeritus professor in Curriculum & Instruction, are being honored with a lifetime achievement award by the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education (IASCE). The two will receive their awards during an Oct. 1 ceremony in Odense, Denmark.

Brothers and professional collaborators for over 45 years, David (pictured left) and Roger (pictured right) will be recognized with their colleague Morton Deutsch. According to IASCE, Dr. Deutsch was a doctoral student of Kurt Lewin, the credited founder of social psychology, and conceptualized and pioneered social interdependence theory. David and Roger further extended and refined the theory by examining and validating the five basic elements of effective teams. IASCE says the trio set the foundation for cooperative learning, creative controversy, and constructive conflict applied in education and many other disciplines.

Established in 1979, IASCE is the only international, non-profit organization for educators who research and practice cooperative learning to promote student academic improvement and democratic, social processes.

Boulanger, C+I alum, selected World Language Teacher of the Year

Grant Boulanger, a Spanish teacher at Skyview Middle School in the North Saint Paul, Maplewood, Oakdale District (ISD 622), was recently selected as the recipient of the Minnesota World Language Teacher of the Year Award for 2015 from the MN Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures.

This is one of the organization’s highest awards and recognizes outstanding all-around work in the field of world languages and cultures education. Boulanger will be recognized at MCTLC’s annual conference in October. The award represents the first step toward the National Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Numerous colleagues, parents, and students submitted letters of support on his behalf. Patty Phillips, former Superintendent of ISD 622, wrote, “Grant Boulanger lights up students’ minds and faces. It’s such a professional treat to observe him teaching, and I always leave his classroom feeling I’ve been to a very special place, a place where students are having so much fun they don’t realize they’re learning, as well as a place where doors are opened that will change the trajectory of their lives.”

Kay Edberg, MCTLC’s president, had this to say about Boulanger, “Grant embodies best practices in world language teaching; he believes all students can be successful language learners, he engages his students and pushes them to be the best they can be in the classroom.  He is a truly deserving recipient of this award.”

ISD 622 Hosts International Forum on Language Teaching at Tartan High School

320 world language teachers from 6 countries attended the 4th annual International Forum on Language Teaching this summer held at Tartan High School in Oakdale, MN. The iFLT Conference is a progressive language teaching conference inspired by Dr. Stephen Krashen, which focuses on best-practices in second language teaching methodologies.

Training sessions for world language teachers were led by nationally recognized teacher-trainers who are experts in Teaching with Comprehensible Input (TCI). Teachers observed, experienced and practiced progressive, cutting-edge Comprehensible Input-based approaches that align with National Standards and result in unprecedented levels of proficiency.

131 MN language educators, including 13 from North Saint Paul, Maplewood, Oakdale District (ISD 622) attended. Skyview Middle School’s Spanish teacher, Grant Boulanger, co-directed the conference with Carol Gaab, President of TPRS Publishing, Inc. He was also one of the Master Teachers tapped to teach one of five Learning Lab demonstration classes. More than 75 ISD 622 students aged 8 to 18 received free language instruction in the French, Spanish or Chinese Learning Labs.

One 622 parent said, “The TPRS conference was a great way to reengage my kids in language learning over the summer. Each day they came home excited about their day and ready to show off what they had learned.”

Robbinsdale Area Schools teacher, Cari Johnson, said, “The 2015 iFLT was the most significant training in language instruction and teaching practices I have had in my 18 years of teaching.”

The MN Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures (MCTLC) co-sponsored the event.

Chhuon receives National Association for Multicultural Education’s 2015 Carl A. Grant Presidential Research Award

Vichet Chhuon was recently named as the recipient of the National Association for Multicultural Education’s 2015 Carl A. Grant Presidential Research Award. This honor is awarded to an exemplary multicultural educator who has demonstrated a long-term scholarly commitment to multicultural education; whose research addresses the multiple facets of human diversity, and the ways by which complex multicultural issues manifest themselves in U.S. schools and society; and whose scholarship breaks new ground in our thinking about multiculturalism.

Previous winners of this prestigious award include Thomas Philips, H. Richard Milner IV, Luis Moll, and Gloria Ladson-Billings.

C+I faculty receive the Journal of Geography Award

Dr. Aaron Doering (C+I faculty), Suzan Koseoglu (LT PhD Candidate), Dr. Cassandra Scharber (C+I faculty), Jeni Henrickson (LT PhD Candidate), and Dr. David Lanegran (Macalester College) are recipients of the Journal of Geography Award from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) for their journal article titled “Technology integration in K-12 geography education using TPACK as a conceptual model.”
Their article was chosen as the Best Article for Program Development amongst those published in volume 113, published in 2014. The recipients will be recognized at a special ceremony during the U.S. National Conference on Geography Education in Washington D.C. in August of 2015. Read the abstract and full citation.

Cushing-Leubner, C+I PhD candidate, receives award from the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle

Jenna Cushing-Leubner, C+I PhD candidate, receives award from the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle in recognition of her academic achievements, community involvement, and leadership. She will receive $2,000 to attend the Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) Summer Institute. Read more on Cushing-Leubner’s work tapping into multilingual students’ language resources.

Erin Dyke, C+I PhD candidate, receives a doctoral dissertation fellowship

Erin’s dissertation research attends to what has become a seemingly intractable issue in education today: the overwhelming lack of racial diversity among U.S. teachers. A broad array of institutions are increasingly concerned with the rhetoric and practice of ‘diversity’. The issue of racially diversifying the U.S. teaching corps is a key issue in education policy, teacher education, and in many urban community-driven efforts to influence schooling in their cities. Within education research, the latter realm is often passed over as a critical site that impacts the dynamics of schooling in society, and much research limits its investigations to the closed sites of policy, institutional, or professional practices.

Engaging in a year-long ethnographic study, this project examines the relationships and interplay between two grassroots education organizations and the state and institutional barriers they come up against in their struggle for educational self-determination. One organization embedded within the Ojibwe language revitalization movement, is working to create an Ojibwe language immersion teacher training infrastructure and a culturally relevant credentialing process. The second organization is a campaign led by a grassroots coalition of Twin Cities educators, students, parents, youth workers, and community members to demand access for people of color to become teachers in their communities.

Efforts to challenge the dispossession of communities of color and native communities from the right to teach their young are at once local and transnational. As such, Erin’s research is located within theoretical traditions of transnational feminisms (or, feminisms that trace, historicize and politicize global flows of peoples, ideas, and capital within traditions of scholar-activism), decolonial and feminist geography (which has contributed to understanding the ways in which our constructions and experiences of space and time mutually constitute relations of power); and critical and activist education research, which has brought these and other critical disciplines to bear on the everyday and historical effects of education policy and practice on communities most targeted for education intervention. The study provides critical insights into the landscape and politics of urban education while taking a keen eye to the practices, counter-pressure, and effects of grassroots education organizing.

Urban educator calls for recognition of many gaps that impact student success

Family income is the most accurate predictor of a student’s college attendance, said University of Pittsburgh professor H. Richard Milner in a campus lecture last week. Critical of the way the term “achievement gap” puts the burden of educational success on students alone, Milner called attention to the innumerable external factors that contribute to a student’s output in school.

Milner holding the microphone to an audience member
Milner took questions in the audience after his talk.

“It’s not an achievement gap,” he said, but many things: An effective leadership gap. An adequate nutrition gap. A family income gap. An access-to-health-care gap. A parental education gap.

In order to work for positive change, Milner said, educators need to look beyond test scores, respond compassionately to students’ neighborhood conditions, and create a space of empathy and understanding in the classroom.

Milner was on campus as part of the Emma Birkmaier Speaker Series sponsored by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). An estimated 185 students and educators heard Milner speak at the McNamara Alumni Center on February 5.

Milner is the Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education and directs the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the sociology of education. His work primarily analyzes policies and methods that contribute to teacher success in urban settings.

He identified five major issues that can either divide or unite a school community: obsession with test scores, a narrow curriculum that eliminates the arts, socioeconomic status and poverty, school counseling and psychological services, and race.

After his lecture, Milner answered questions about diversity in education and how it affects student achievement.

Increasing racial diversity in teacher education

In addition to the public lecture, Milner led a workshop Thursday morning with area educational professionals about recruiting a more diverse pool of teachers to better fit local districts’ needs.

Milner standing in front of workshop participants
Milner led a workshop with education professionals.

Milner described the history of and esteem for the teaching profession in the African American community. He also presented a theoretical approach for understanding the impact of hurtful interactions in school settings and what can be done to address them.

Shuji Asai, a licensure officer in CEHD’s Office of Teacher Education, attended the workshop and concurred with Milner’s case for teacher recruitment efforts.

“Recruitment efforts need to be tied to the needs of a particular community or schools in order for a partnership to work,” said Asai. “And [we need to] start early, when our future licensure students are in a middle school or high school.”

The Emma Birkmaier Critical Literacy and Urban Education Speaker Series is a program dedicated to bringing leading voices in education to the U to address the experiences of youth in urban schools and the power of literacy education.

In addition to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, cosponsors of Milner’s visit included CEHD’s Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, and associate dean for undergraduate, diversity, and international programs; and the University of Minnesota Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development.

—Ellen Fee; photos by Claire Rasmussen

Chhuon wins 2015 Early Career Achievement Award from Association for Asian American Studies

ChhuonV-PrefAssistant professor Vichet Chhuon, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, received the 2015 Early Career Achievement Award from the Association for Asian American Studies in recognition and appreciation for his many contributions to Asian American and Pacific Islander studies, including outstanding and innovative research.

The association promotes positive social change by funding and developing programs that raise political and cultural awareness about and within the Asian American community. Chhuon will receive the award at the association’s annual conference in Evanston, Illinois, on April 25.

C+I student nominated for Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award

The UMN Graduate School nominates C+I’s Tracey Pyscher for the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award.

The MAGS Excellence in Teaching award was created to raise the attention given to excellence in teaching and mentoring as a component of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students for future service as college and university faculty. The award recognizes graduate students who exemplify excellence in the teaching/learning mission of our universities.

Lybeck publishes in premiere journal on sociocultural theory

Rick Lybeck, Ph.D. Candidate in the Critical Literacy and English Education strand in Literacy Education, published a major research article in Mind, Culture, and Activity, the premiere international journal on sociocultural theory.  The article is of particular importance for its exploration of white settler ideology in the Midwest.

King and Bigelow partner with Minneapolis Public Schools

Kendall King and Martha Bigelow, faculty in Curriculum and Instruction, Second Languages and Cultures, together with Beverly Dretzke and Kyla Wahlstrom in CAREI, have recently signed an agreement to partner with Minneapolis Public Schools to review, evaluate, and recommend changes in intake, assessment, and instruction for high-school-age English learners. Their initial report will be produced this month, with data collection and analysis starting in the spring and going through fall 2015.

Hermes lectures at Dartmouth, Linguistics and Cognitive Science Program

On January 26, Mary Hermes of Curriculum and Instruction gave a lecture to the Linguistics and Cognitive Science program at Dartmouth. The title of the talk: Why Is This So Hard?: Ideologies of endangerment, passive language learning approaches and Ojibwe in the United States.