School & District Management

Incoming Dean Ponders the Research-Teacher Intersection

By Sarah D. Sparks — August 20, 2010 1 min read
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Michael Feuer has six days left as head of the National Academies of Science’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education before crossing downtown D.C. to become dean of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education, and as he puts it, “64 days work of work I’d like to do before leaving.” Still, he took a few minutes to chat with me about his hopes for bridging education research and teacher preparation in an education college.

After years of seeking ways research could improve classroom practice, Feuer said the recent push for teachers to delve into data and conduct their own research is “a two-edged blade.”

“This needs to be monitored to avoid burdening teachers with the need to become empirical scientists on top of their already immense and important work,” he said. “I think it’s as important to inform the research community of the real lives and constraints of teachers as it is to inform teachers of the research. ... One of the shortcomings of education research as we have known it is when it is conducted in the absence of the conscious and subtle attention to the real-world lives and practice of teachers.”

University of Wisconsin sociologist Robert Hauser &mdash a longtime National Academies researcher well-known for his work on the effects of social promotion and the growing use of assessments &mdash will step in as interim head of the division while the NRC conducts a national search for a permanent executive director for the division.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.