Members of JustEd team 3 (Justice through Educational Practices? Analysing Innovative Cultures of Teaching and Learning in Nordic Contexts), met at Stanford University on 12-16 May 2014 for a workshop, aiming at developing common practices for systematic large-scale study of quality of teaching.
Team members from University of Oslo and University of Helsinki in Stanford: Kirsti Klette, Anna Slotte-Luttge, Marte Blikstad-Balas, Fritjof Sahlström, Astrid Roe and Liisa Tainio.
The main task of team 3 is to investigate qualities of classroom teaching across the Nordic countries, drawing mainly on video documentation. In order to do this the team will test and evaluate how different measures and methodological designs (observation protocols; discourse analyses; ethnographic analyses) provide robust lenses for measuring quality, and equity, in classroom learning.
The workshop in Stanford was focused on PLATO, the Protocol for Language Arts Teaching Observations, which is a classroom observation protocol designed to capture features of English/Language Arts (ELA) instruction. PLATO is used as a professional development tool to support teachers’ use of rigorous, research-based teaching practices and designed to work across a variety of curricula and instructional approaches.
More information on JustEd team 3
More information on PLATO
Dr. Paul Tractenberg, professor of Law at Rutgers Law School-Newark, gave a guest lecture in Helsinki on 8 May 2014 on the theme “Law and Litigation as a Force for Educational Reform and Social Justice: How Relevant is the U.S. Experience to Finland?”.
Professor Tractenberg has been devoted to equalize and improve the education of disadvantaged and disabled students in the U.S. and elsewhere over the past 45 years, through teaching, research and legal advocacy . He has been on the front lines of the fight for an equal education for New Jersey’s urban school children and in the effort to achieve racial balance in public schools.
In his lecture in Helsinki, Tractenberg examined educational problems in Finland, drawing on similarities and differences to current U.S. policy developments and reform experiences. The role of law and litigation as a way to successfully implement educational reforms was illustrated through two case studies from the U.S.; Brown v. Board of Education from 1954 where racial segregation of schools by law was barred, and Abbott v. Burke were a comprehensive and coordinated set of funding and educational facilities and programmatic remedies were ordered in order to secure equal school funding for low-income children in the state of New Jersey.
The Burke case, a case referred to by the New York Times as “the most important education case since Brown [v. Board of Education]” in 1954, is still ongoing. So far it has led to improved student achievement and reduced achievement gaps, but the state of New Jersey has consistently refused full implementation, requiring lawyers for poor urban students to regularly return to court.
Tractenberg’s PowerPoint presentation from 8 May 2014
Professor Tractenberg is the founder of the Rutgers-Newark Institute on Education Law and Policy, an interdisciplinary research center that draws upon the expertise of other faculty and researchers at Rutgers-Newark’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the School of Public Affairs and Administration, other units at Rutgers, and other area universities.