About the Center Events


Center Events: Speaker Series

Marilyn Cochran-Smith (Boston College)
Teacher Education for the 21st Century: What's Research Got To Do With It?
October 17, 2002

Marilyn Cochran-Smith is Professor of Education and Director of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College, where she teaches courses and directs numerous doctoral dissertations. An active researcher and participant in the national and international teacher education community, Cochran-Smith is past Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) and its current Chair of Publications. She is also the editor of The Journal of Teacher Education and serves on several editorial boards. Dr. Cochran-Smith is a member of the advisory board for the Carnegie Foundation's program to document the scholarship of teaching and learning by K-12 teachers and teacher educators. She is co-chair of AERA's National Consensus Panel on Teacher Education, and is a member of the National Academy of Education's Committee on Teacher Education.

Dr. Cochran-Smith has written award-winning articles and books on issues of diversity in teaching and teacher education as well as on teacher research, teacher learning, and the growth and development of knowledge for teaching. Several of her recent publications, including those in Teaching and Teacher Education, Educational Researcher, and the Educational Policy Analysis Archives focus on outcomes and research evidence in teacher education as well as on competing agendas for teacher education reform. Dr. Cochran-Smith is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker, recently at the “Challenging Future of Teacher Education Worldwide” at the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia, the annual conference of the National Association for Research on Science Teaching, and the annual meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization.

One of the most pressing issues in teacher education today is the vigorous controversy among policy makers and others about whether or not there is a research base that justifies particular practices related to the preparation, certification, recruitment/retention, and entry routes of teachers. Differing conclusions about the research base--and what it indicates--have been widely publicized and have influenced policy at both the local and larger levels. What people mean when they talk about “the research base” and/or “the evidence” for teacher education, however, is not always made explicit, and in fact, there are a number of different images of “research” that are prevalent in the discourse. In this presentation, Marilyn Cochran-Smith will identify five distinct meanings for research that underlie current discussions about the research base for teacher education, using metaphors as an organizational frame: research as weapon, research as report card, research as warranty, research as foundation, and research as stance. She will illustrate each of these with examples from current research, policy and practice and also consider what the limitations and potential of these are for helping to illuminate teacher education for the new century.

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