Cynthia Coburn Teaches Seminar in Norway

Cynthia Coburn Teaches Seminar in Norway

Cynthia Coburn

Professor Cynthia Coburn traveled to Norway recently to share her insights about education policy and practice with scholars there. At the University of Oslo, she taught a seminar as part of the National Graduate School in Education, a cross-university graduate degree program.

Coburn’s two-day seminar, entitled Institutional Perspectives on the Relationship between Policy and Practice, was featured in the program’s track for educational leadership, school reform and education governance. A group of doctoral students, faculty members and staff attended.

“It was a wonderful experience. It was rewarding to be able to share the theoretical and methodological tools I use with students in Norway who are working hard to understand and improve public education there,” says Coburn.

“It was a great learning opportunity for me as well because it was so useful to learn how the educational system in Norway is organized differently than that in the US and think through how that matters for the kinds of issues both countries are facing.”

Coburn's course addressed two aspects of the relationship between instructional policy and teachers’ classroom practice. She considered the role of social networks in carrying the logics of instruction into districts, schools and classrooms. She also discussed and the role of framing in local processes of meaning making.

The seminar examined features of social networks that make them more or less likely to influence teachers’ classrooms, as well as how teachers interact with one another to make meaning of new instructional approaches. Drawing on frame analysis, the seminar investigated how teachers and others come to understand instructional approaches in social interaction. The course also discussed various theories that clarify aspects of the policy implementation process.

Coburn is a professor at the School of Education and Social Policy who studies the relationship between instructional policy and teachers' classroom practices in urban schools. To date, Coburn has investigated this issue in a series of studies that tackle critical issues facing public schools: the relationship between reading policy and teachers' classroom practice, the scale-up of innovative mathematics curricula, data use at the district level, and the relationship between research and practice for school improvement.

In 2011, Coburn was awarded the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association in recognition of her contributions to the field of educational research in the first decade of her career. She has a BA in philosophy from Oberlin College, and a MA in sociology and a PhD in education from Stanford University. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/15/13