The American Educational Research Association (AERA) holds its annual conference this time each year. The mission of AERA is simple: “The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.”
As teachers and educators, our lives are complex and filled with the daily lessons, responses, and interactions with students, families, and peers. It is a treat when we get to explore the ways in which research informs and intersects with our daily practice. So, what is educational research? AERA notes that educational research is “the scientific field of study that examines education and learning processes and the human attributes, interactions, organizations and institutions that shape educational outcomes.”
The topics at AERA are what inform my own work, my practice, and my beliefs about education, equity and inclusion.
And, the last time I went, I vowed never to go again.
Back in 2011, I was a new doctoral student, eager to run from session to session at conferences in order to soak up as much as my developing scholar-brain could handle. I was a stranger among a crowd of folks, and didn’t have a strong foundation in the organization. I had been successful at most conferences and managed to go to a few interesting sessions. But AERA is different. While most conferences host between 2,500-4,000 people, AERA boasts an attendance of over 15,000 people. FIFTEEN THOUSAND, y’all. And, that year was only the THIRD largest year.
My first time at the AERA conference, I was completely overwhelmed. It took me 3 hours just to go through the conference book and select sessions. Half of that time I spent decoding words and trying to figure out what the heck the titles even meant (“Intersections of decolonizing methodology from a quantitative lens”? What??). I focused mostly on higher education session (Division J, as it is known in AERA speak), but was drawn to sessions on K-12 education and graduate education as well.
This time around, I’m a bit more seasoned.
This time around, I know what I’m doing.
This time around, I have a plan.
While AERA can, indeed, be overwhelming with the amount of sessions and opportunities to learn, I am grateful that it is a space that addresses all aspects of a my identity: a prek-8 practitioner; a higher education scholar; and a doctoral level educator. And, I’m looking forward to bringing all of that great knowledge back and engage in meaningful dialogue with folks who are interested in enhancing the teaching and learning and leading experience.
There are simply too many sessions to choose from, but here is a list of sessions I hope to get to over the course of four days. I’m looking forward to blogging and live tweeting during the conference. Join me virtually at AERA!
The following is a list of sessions I hope to get to over the four days. They were driven by a number of different interests: a) looking at ways to support early career faculty; b) content from a socially just perspective; c) identity; d) and elementary/middle school. There are hundreds of sessions that fall into those categories. The bullet points below are simply categories — each of those categories have 4-6 papers being presented on specific topics within those categories. Excited yet??
- Novel Approaches to Arts-Based Educational Research
- Critical Perspectives in the Social Studies
- Teachers of Color as Wounded Healers: Disrupting dehumanization in the teaching profession
- Curriculum of Love, Justice and Peace? Genocide of Education? Cross-Cultural Dialogue?
- Disrupting Whiteness in the Practice of Leadership for Social Justice
- Examining Race and Transgender Identity Politics in Early Childhood Literacy, School Discipline and Pedagogy
- Teacher Identities: How race, gender, and sexual orientation inform pedagogy and the sense of belongingness
- Co-Teaching Models for Pre-Service Teacher Development
- Teacher, Classroom and Student Impacts of Teacher Mindfulness Programs in Elementary and Middle School
- How to Draw Comics the Scholarly Way
- They/She/He/Us: Proactive Teacher Alliances with the Gender Identities of Students
- Unothering: Supporting Preservice Teachers in their understanding of Diversity and Equity
- Problematizing Teacher Education Practices through Self-Study
- Latino Parents and Funds of Knowledge
- The Role of Culture in Preparing Teacher and Experienced by Teachers
- “We are not just changing diapers, we are changing the world!” Young Parents Transforming Their Communities
- Teachers and School Leaders: Realities and Perspectives
- Social Justice Tensions in the Principalship and other Leadership Roles
- Harnessing the Full Potential of After School Programs
- Science and Mathematics Education in the Context of Culturally Relevant Practice
- Achieving the Promise for Indigenous People: Research on Transforming Systems of Education
- Interrogating Whiteness in Mathematics Education
- Inclusive and Culturally Relevant Approaches to Science Education
If you are extra curious, feel free to browse the entire catalog as a guest here.
Looking forward to the AERA conference and to great dialogues about education and equity! I’m also receiving a pretty great award at this conference — selfies to come!
Peace and Park,