Carol Lee Addresses International Education Conference in Taiwan

Carol Lee Addresses International Education Conference in Taiwan

Carol Lee

Professor Carol Lee gave an address recently at the World Educational Research Association meeting in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Her talk compares educational innovation in three diverse nations of the world.

She attended the international conference as the representative of the American Educational Research Association since she is the immediate past president of the organization. At the conference she also chaired a panel presentation on “Using Information Technology in Primary Schools.” 

Her presentation on December 16 was “A Comparison of Culturally Focused Educational Innovation in the U.S., Brazil and South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities Across African Descent Populations.” In the talk she offered a framework through which to understand foundational principles that underlie impactful teaching and learning in the face of diversity. 

Aspects of diversity, including religion, language, social class and historically situated relations of power, matter in most countries, according to Lee. “Interesting phenomena characterize the complexity of what these dimensions of diversity mean for opportunity to learn and academic as well as life course outcomes,” she says.

Her presentation provides a cultural-historical framework to analyze how educational innovations rooted in indigenous African cultural precepts arise in three contexts: South Africa, Brazil and the United States  She examines similarities and differences in the historical emergence of these innovations, relationships between underlying scientific constructs and how they play out in policy and practice, and finally how these innovations embody challenges in multicultural societies.

“International comparisons can be uniquely comprehended by examining the cultural bases for how schooling is organized differentially and how particular populations respond to such organization,” she explains. 

Lee is widely known for developing a theory of cultural modeling that provides a framework for the design of curriculum drawing on forms of prior knowledge that traditionally underserved students bring to classrooms.

The Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, she is a member of the National Academy of Education, a fellow of the National Conference of Research on Language and Literacy, and a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. She is the author of two books, Culture, Literacy and Learning and Signifying as a Scaffold for Literary Interpretation, and has published in numerous journals.

Several major awards have recognized her contributions to education. These include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence, the National Council of Teachers of English Distinguished Service Award, and the AERA Scholars of Color Distinguished Scholar Award. She has been a member of the faculty of the School of Education and Social Policy and African American Studies since 1991. 

Lee is a founder of African-centered charter schools in Chicago and has been active in the school reform movement in Chicago Public Schools as well as in professional development for teachers nationally. She taught in both public and private schools before assuming a university career.

The World Education Research Association (WERA) is an association of national, regional and international specialty research associations aimed at advancing education research as a scientific and scholarly field. Established in 2009, WERA aims to undertake initiatives that are global in nature and thus transcend what any one association can accomplish in its own country, region, or area of specialization.

The Taiwan Education Research Association (TERA) is hosting the 2011 World Education Research Association Focal Meeting in conjunction with the 2011 TERA International Conference on Education (TICE) from December 15 to 18.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/12/12