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1 - Justice Requires Informed Action: Fighting Anti-Intellectualism With Educational Research

Mon, April 20, 10:35am to 12:05pm, Hyatt, Floor: East Tower - Gold Level, Grand EF

Session Type: Invited Speaker Session


King (2014) stated in her description of the AERA 2015 Conference Theme “We have the opportunity and the moral obligation to apply principles and evidence from social science research and theorizing to the problems of injustice.” However, unspoken in this statement is the assumption that our research and scholarly endeavors will be embraced in the practice realms of policy and instruction. In the face of persuasive messaging and vast choice for intellectual engagement learners in the 21st century are more likely than not to avoid the epistemic cognition necessary to use logic, reason, and evidence in evaluating information and situations around them (Greene, Azevedo, & Torney-Purta, 2008, Murphy, 2007). Thus, it is often the flashiness of the message rather than the soundness of the evidence gathered through valid and trustworthy methods that is heard and acted upon. This leads to a twofold challenge for those vested in the pursuit of justice through and in education (highlighted in the two title of this session):

• First, as educators we need to foster, encourage, and support the educational engagement of learners in our communities such that such that critical thinking, evidence supported reasoning, and equity focused problem framing become habits of mind that extend beyond academic settings into the lived experiences of our communities (James, 1899).

• Second, as researchers we need to provide clear and straightforward scholarship in education that supports all members of the educational process (e.g., teachers, parents, policy makers, taxpayers, and students) in making sound, evidence based, and just decisions for practice.

Thus, it is necessary but not sufficient for the field of educational research to identify recommendations for practice that lead learners to develop the habit of intellectual engagement unless we simultaneously address the challenges to the evaluation and use of the research in our own field. The practice of intellectual engagement and the pursuit of evidence through sound, valid, and trustworthy research design is under siege across disciplines thus, it influences our work in education through the content areas (e.g., science, social studies) we teach and through the enactment of educational policy, evaluations of school and teacher success, and the publication process that we ourselves are held to in our daily work.

These concerns permeate research and practice in all Divisions and SIGS in AERA, thus for this session we invite key scholars across Divisions to respond through the lenses of their disciplines and fields of study to the session questions and to describe how these issues arise in their scholarly context.

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