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School of Education

Three University of Delaware School of Education professors are 2019 AERA Fellows. From left to right: Roberta Golinkoff, James Hiebert, and Laura Desimone. They stand in front of bookshelves in one of their UD offices.
Three University of Delaware School of Education professors are 2019 AERA Fellows. From left to right: Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, James Hiebert, and Laura Desimone

University of Delaware holds three of ten national education fellowships

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), the largest national interdisciplinary education research association, has selected 10 researchers as 2019 AERA Fellows, three of whom are University of Delaware School of Education faculty members.

Laura Desimone, College of Education and Human Development director of research and professor, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair and professor in the departments of Linguistics and Cognitive Science and Psychological and Brain Sciences, and James Hiebert, Robert J. Barkley Professor, received this honor.

The AERA Fellows program honors education researchers with notable and sustained research accomplishments. This honor recognizes excellence in research as well as scholarship that constitutes and enriches education research as an interdisciplinary field. Fellows are nominated by their peers, selected and recommended by the Fellows Committee, and approved by the AERA Council.

Laura Desimone

 Desimone has contributed significant scholarship on educational policy, studying how state, district, and school-level policy can promote changes in teaching that lead to improved student achievement and close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. She has focused on school reform initiatives, standards-based reform, and teacher quality initiatives.

 “Professor Desimone’s scholarship shows a critical understanding of the field of educational policy, particularly teacher learning, that is often riddled with politics, biases, and misinformation. She has been able to tackle thorny problems and offer new insights into why reforms may succeed or fail,” said Barbara Schneider, John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. “Professor Desimone also explains what we should consider as fundamental to professional development and teacher learning and instruction if the professionals in education are to be highly effective. Her work is refreshingly substantive, pushing educational reform for teachers not by a tunnel vision of evaluation, but rather by those essential conceptual factors for how to improve the quality of teachers.”

She is co-principal investigator in the $10 million Center for Standards, Assessments, Instruction, and Learning grant, funded by the Institute for Education Sciences. The Center studies the implementation of the Common Core and other college- and career-ready standards across the nation, identifying supports and barriers to implementation, studying effects on student learning, and testing a web-based coaching intervention with special attention to low-achieving students.

Desimone has also worked with the School District of Philadelphia through Shared Solutions, a research-to-practice partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Through this partnership, Desimone has contributed to a mixed-method study of the district’s school improvement efforts and has studied school transformation efforts and a leadership initiative.

View AERA’s video about Desimone.

Roberta Golinkoff

 With research partner Kathy Hirsh-Pasek of Temple University, Golinkoff has dedicated her career to groundbreaking research on language, literacy, education, and spatial reasoning in the field of developmental psychology in infants and young children. Her work has been recognized with prestigious awards from several organizations, including the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Research in Child Development.

“Professor Golinkoff has used sensitive research methods that allow her to investigate children’s comprehension of language even before they are actively using it. She has examined children’s early conceptual knowledge and how they come to understand and construct early grammatical forms, with her work on the acquisition of verbs being of singular importance,” said David K. Dickinson, Margaret Cowan Chair in the Department of Teaching and Learning and the Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives of Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. “Through her careful attention to both verbal and nonverbal communication she has helped the field understand how parents and children come to understand each other’s intentions and words and how those linguistic dances nourish children’s long-term development.”

Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek’s most recent book, asserts that the development of six skills are necessary for children to thrive in a 21st century global workplace, experience personal fulfillment, and become concerned citizens. With accessible scientific evidence and illustrative examples from current school practices, Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek show how parents and educators can nurture collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence in children.

Golinkoff also actively engages the community through hands-on learning events. In her Playful Learning Landscapes project, Golinkoff works to develop learning environments outside of the traditional classroom space. Through the Playful Learning Landscapes project, Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek have showcased the science of how the brain works in New York City’s Central Park, transformed supermarkets to heighten caregiver-child interactions, and mounted a life-sized, human game board designed to encourage STEM learning at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Children’s Museum.

View AERA’s video about Golinkoff.

James Hiebert

Over the last four decades, Hiebert has contributed influential scholarship to the field of mathematics learning, teaching, and teacher education. His work has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and AERA’s Special Interest Group for Research in Mathematics Education, among other organizations.

“James Hiebert has produced groundbreaking contributions to our views of what it means to understand mathematics, and to our understanding of how teaching, and teacher education, impact mathematics learning with understanding,” said James Stigler, professor of psychology at UCLA. “He has been one of the most highly recognized leaders in the field since the 1980s, leading efforts to bring psychological theories of conceptual and procedural knowledge to bear on mathematics education; developing new methodologies of studying classroom teaching in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) video studies; and applying lesson study methodologies developed in Japan to the improvement of teacher education.”

With continued support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) over nearly twenty years, Hiebert has worked collaboratively with his UD mathematics education colleagues to study and continuously improve the mathematics education curriculum and instruction for prospective elementary education teachers.

This contribution stems from Hiebert’s work as principal investigator from 2000 to 2013 for the Mid-Atlantic Center for Mathematics and Teaching and Learning, a consortium of three research universities funded by NSF. Hiebert worked to develop and evaluate models of mathematics education for pre-service teachers at UD. With his colleagues, he committed to a stable set of learning goals, implemented a shared curriculum, and committed to a process of evaluating and systematically improving the curriculum.

The UD mathematics elementary teacher education program is one of the few programs whose effects have been studied over time. Findings consistently indicate that graduates are much better prepared to teach the topics from their UD mathematics content courses than they are to teach other mathematics topics, even up to seven years after learning them.

View AERA’s video about Hiebert.

 Desimone, Golinkoff, and Hiebert will officially be inducted during the 2019 AERA Annual Meeting on April 7 in Toronto, Canada.

Article by Jessica Henderson

Photo by Evan Krape and courtesy of UD College of Education and Human Development.