Curry Education Research Lectureship Series Spring 2015

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Spring 2015

Candice L. OdgersSeven Fears And Countless Opportunities For Adolescents In The Digital World

Candice L. Odgers, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Psychology, and Neuroscience, Duke University
Sponsored by Youth-Nex

Candice Odgers is an Associate Professor of Public Policy, Psychology and Neuroscience and Associate Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and completed her postdoctoral training at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre in London, England. Her research focuses on how social inequalities and early adversity influence children’s future health and well-being, with an emphasis on how new technologies, including mobile phones and web-based tools, can be used to understand and improve the lives of young people. Odgers is a William T. Grant Scholar and the recipient of early career awards from the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research in Child Development. Most recently, she received the Janet Taylor Spence Award from the Association for Psychological Science for transformative early career contributions to psychological science. Before joining the Sanford faculty in 2012, Odgers was an Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California-Irvine.

Abstract: Many adults fear that adolescents’ seemingly constant interactions with their mobile devices are interfering with their ability to communicate, develop close friendships, and even sleep. Adolescents are indeed spending a great deal of time on their devices; 80% now own a mobile phone and send, on average, 50 text messages per day. But are mobile devices really ruining our kids? This lecture will evaluate the fears and opportunities surrounding adolescents’ use of new technologies and share findings from our research using mobile phones to track the daily experiences, emotions and behaviors of adolescents. The opportunities and challenges that mobile technologies present for youths, researchers, educators and parents will be discussed.

Amanda_Williford_100x100.jpg Examining the Impacts of Banking Time to Improve Outcomes for Preschool Children Displaying Disruptive Behaviors

Amanda R. Williford, Research Assistant Professor at CASTL, University of Virginia

Amanda Williford’s research explores how young children best develop school readiness skills, with special emphasis on the development of social-emotional skills. She develops and evaluates classroom-based, interventions for young children who display disruptive behavior problems and/or deficits in self-regulation. She is also interested in state efforts to increase high quality early education opportunities. 

Her clinical expertise informs her research and is focused on the assessment and treatment of young children particularly in the assessment of externalizing behaviors and in providing early childhood mental health consultation.

Dr. Williford is currently the PI on an efficacy trial to examine the impacts of Banking Time to improve preschool children’s behavior. She recently led an effort to better understand the extent to which preschool children enter kindergarten in Virginia.  She is the Co-PI with Jason Downer on a grant to develop an early childhood mental health consultation model built upon the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS) and she is Co-PI with Daphna Bassok on a grant to examine Louisiana’s efforts to overhaul their early childhood education system.

Dr. Williford received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She received her Master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Abstract: Warm, sensitive, and responsive teacher-child interactions are linked with better academic and social-emotional child outcomes.  Unfortunately, when children display disruptive behaviors they are more likely to experience teacher-child interactions characterized by conflict and negativity.  Banking Time is an intervention designed to improve the quality of the teacher-child exchanges and consists of brief, play sessions between a teacher and child where the teacher follows the child’s lead, observes the child’s behavior, and reflects the child’s experience with the teacher.  In this presentation,  I will present the results from a recent randomized controlled trial where we evaluated the impact of Banking Time to improve preschool children’s behavior and the quality of teacher-child interactions.  Classrooms (183 teachers and 440 children) were randomized into one of three conditions: Banking time (experimental), Child Time (teacher spend unspecified time with children), or Business-As-Usual (control).

Paper: The paper relating to this talk is now available online.

Youth Development in Physical Activity Contexts: Promoting Social, Psychological, and Physical Assets

Maureen R. Weiss, Professor in the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Sponsored by Youth-Nex

Maureen R. Weiss is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology, and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of Child Development, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research is focused on the psychological, social, and physical development of children and adolescents through participation in sport and physical activity, with interests in self-perceptions, motivation, moral development, and social relationships. Previously she was a faculty member at the University of Virginia (1997-2007), where she held an endowed professorship, and at the University of Oregon (1981-1997), where research and its applications were implemented through her role as Director of the Children's Summer Sports Program, a developmental skills program serving youth 5 to 13 years of age.

Professor Weiss received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology, and a Master of Arts degree in Kinesiology, from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. She has published over 140 refereed journal articles and book chapters in her areas of expertise. She has also edited or co-edited 4 books on youth sport and physical activity: Competitive Sport for Children and Youths (Weiss & Gould, 1986), Advances in Pediatric Sport Sciences: Behavioral Issues (Gould & Weiss, 1987), Worldwide Trends in Youth Sport (De Knop, Engstrom, Skirstad, & Weiss, 1996), and Developmental Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Lifespan Perspective (Weiss, 2004). Weiss is a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology (#360) and served as President in 2010-2011. Weiss is currently Editor of Kinesiology Review, the official journal of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the American Kinesiology Association.

Abstract: Millions of children and adolescents participate in a variety of structured (organized sport, school physical education, motor development programs) and unstructured physical activities (play, recess, recreation). In my presentation I will summarize the knowledge base and share my line of research on physical activity as a context for promoting social, psychological, and physical assets and healthy outcomes. Using a positive youth development approach, I first discuss robust findings on social assets, including social relationships and moral development. Second, I review the evidence base on psychological assets, including self-perceptions, emotions, and motivational orientations. Third, I discuss the unique set of physical assets that can result from engaging in youth development programs, such as movement literacy, lifetime sport skills, physically active lifestyle, physical fitness, and physical health. Throughout, I translate research to offer evidence-based best practices for promoting positive youth development through physical activity. Finally I identify areas for future research that might provide more definitive evidence of the potential for sport and physical activity to promote positive youth development.

New Perspectives on Classroom Processes

Kevin F. Miller, Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Keynote Lecture for the Curry Research Conference

Kevin Miller is Professor of Psychology and Educational Studies at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on understanding the relation between student learning and classroom processes, and cross-cultural similarities and differences in academic learning and performance. He is a developmental and school psychologist by training, and he works to understand the interplay of developmental and educational processes in the development of fundamental cognitive skills. 

Abstract: Two approaches to improvement have become popular in a variety fields. The first, associated with Clayton Christensen ('The Innovator's Dilemma') focuses on 'disruptive innovations' that involve new organizations and structures. The second, associated with Atul Gawande ('Better') argues that under-standing and improving everyday processes can be associated with dramatic improvements in effectiveness. Both approaches are being applied to education, but a real stumbling block for advocates of the Gawande approach is that we know surprisingly little about the cognitive processes that go on in classrooms. In my talk, I will describe two research projects aimed at remedying this gap. The first uses mobile eye tracking technologies to understand the cognitive processes of teachers as they teach classroom lessons. The second uses an automated speech analysis system (the 'LENA') to give teachers timely feedback about the distribution of talk between teacher and student during math lessons, with an aim of helping them to promote productive discussions. Our underlying premise is that it is now possible to make fundamental processes of teaching and learning visible for research and professional development.

New Challenges for Research on Youth Inequality

Adam Gamoran, President, William T. Grant Foundation

Adam Gamoran joined the William T. Grant Foundation as president in September 2013.  Previously he held the John D. MacArthur Chair in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he directed the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and led an interdisciplinary graduate training program in education sciences.  In a research career spanning three decades, Gamoran conducted a wide range of studies focusing on inequality in education and school reform.  At the Foundation, he is leading a new initiative to support research on programs, policies, and practices to reduce inequality, and continuing the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to understand the use of research evidence in decision-making.  Gamoran is the lead author of Transforming Teaching in Math and Science: How Schools and Districts Can Support Change (Teachers College Press, 2003) and editor of Standards-Based Reform and the Poverty Gap: Lessons for No Child Left Behind (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).  He also co-edited Methodological Advances in Cross-National Surveys of Educational Achievement (National Academy Press, 2002) and Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford University Press, 2007).  He chaired the Independent Advisory Panel of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education for the U.S. Department of Education, and currently chairs the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education.  He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was twice appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences.

Abstract: The William T. Grant Foundation supports research to improve the lives of young people, with a focus on two key areas: improving the use of research evidence in decisions that affect youth, and reducing inequality in youth outcomes.  Research in these areas is challenged by recent trends: far from reducing inequality, the last several decades have witnessed increasing inequality--as well as increasing effects of inequality in one generation on the outcomes of the next.  Fifteen years ago I offered two predictions about the future of inequality in education: a decline in black-white inequality and a steady state of inequality by socioeconomic origin.  Both predictions were incorrect, as racial gaps have been slow to change and economic gaps have gotten worse.  What went wrong?  Is the current rise in inequality inevitable, or can it be addressed?  These questions pose tough challenges for researchers, but answering them may point the way towards new directions for research in the future.  In addition to discussing the past and future of educational inequality, I will discuss the efforts of the William T. Grant Foundation to respond to the challenges, and explain how researchers can join in these efforts.


image_normalRace, Ethnicity and Social Adjustment of Adolescents: How (not if) School Diversity Matters

Sandra Graham, Professor of Education, University of California Los Angeles

Sandra Graham is a Professor in the Department of Education at UCLA and the University of California Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity.  She received her BA from Barnard College, an MA in History from Columbia University, and her PhD in Education from UCLA.  Her major research interests include the study of academic motivation and social development in children of color, particularly African American youth, with a special emphasis on development in school contexts that vary in racial/ethnic diversity.  Professor Graham has published widely in developmental, social, and educational psychology journals and received many awards. Most recently, she is a 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award from the Society for Research on Child Development and the 2014 E. L. Thorndike Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Psychology, Division 15 of the  American Psychological Association. In 2015 Graham was elected to the National Academy of Education. 

Abstract: In this presentation I discuss recent research on the effects of school racial/ethnic diversity on the psychosocial outcomes of ethnic minority adolescents in middle school and across the transition to high school.  Drawing on data from two large longitudinal studies in California, I test specific hypotheses about the social processes, such as formation of cross-ethnic friendships , development of complex social identities, and reduced feelings of vulnerability, that help explain the positive effects of greater school diversity. For both research and policy, the question should no longer be if school diversity matters, but rather how it matters.

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