Cynthia Coburn Gives Keynote Talk at International Learning Conference

Cynthia Coburn Gives Keynote Talk at International Learning Conference

Cynthia Coburn

Professor Cynthia Coburn, an expert in the area of scaling up education reform efforts, will address an international learning conference this week. She will provide a framework for how to spread and sustain successful changes in instruction.

The International SIM Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, from July 16 to 18 is intended to deepen understanding of issues related to school improvement. SIM, or Strategic Instruction Model, at the University of Kansas is a center for research on teaching and learning.

In her keynote talk, “Scaling Up Instructional Reform: A Framework for Action,” Coburn presents valuable guidelines for increasing the scale of a consequential reform. To increase scale, which she defines as multidimensional, she emphasizes the importance of the type of reform, the audience, the contexts and the conception of scale.

Following her keynote address on July 16, Coburn is following up with a conference session focused on the research — both her own and that of others — about effective strategies for scaling up.

The conference organizers find that Coburn’s conceptualization of scale “resonates with us in that the issues she discusses are those with which we have wrestled in our efforts to get SIM into the hands of students and teachers.” In a 2003 article, “Rethinking Scale,” Coburn advances a definition of scale that combines four dimensions: depth, sustainability, spread, and shift in reform ownership.

In addition, Coburn has researched and published about research-practice partnerships, which involve cooperative efforts in putting research into practice in schools. She has analyzed the types of research-practice partnerships, potential struggles associated with partnerships and ways to overcome such hurdles to encourage successful, productive relationships in efforts to improve education.

In general, Coburn’s research relates directly to the relationship between instructional policy and teachers' classroom practices in urban schools. She 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. Her doctorate in education is from Stanford University.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/16/14