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Teacher education to be topic of Peabody Annual Southall Lecture

Jan. 29, 2002, 2:25 PM

January 29, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Virginia Richardson, one of the country’s premier leaders in the field of teacher education, will share her insights on enhancing the quality of teaching nationally at Vanderbilt University on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Richardson is the Maycie K. Southall Distinguished Lecturer at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. Her talk titled “Constructivist Pedagogy: A Critique from the Inside,” is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. in the Wyatt Center Rotunda.

Richardson is a professor and chair of educational studies at the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Her publications include a volume she edited, Constructivist Teacher Education: Building a World of New Understandings (Falmer Press, 1997).

Constructivist pedagogy focuses on teachers’ knowledge and how they are able to convey that knowledge to accommodate for differences in individual children’s understandings. This approach contrasts with “transmission,” in which information is taught assuming each student has the same knowledge base and will all learn concepts in the same way.

Richardson specializes in research on teacher beliefs and decision-making, teacher change, effective instructional practice, teacher/student interaction, at-risk students, teacher education and staff development, effective schools, teaching policy, qualitative methodology, evaluation and research design.

In 1992, Richardson received the Research on Teaching Award from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Division K on Teaching and Teacher Education. In 1995 she served as president of AERA, which represents more than 23,000 educators who conduct research and evaluation in education.

Richardson is editor of the fourth edition of AERA’s influential Handbook of Research on Teaching (2001), which reflects current and sometimes competing schools of thought, and explores the potential impact such work can have on fields beyond research on teaching.

A devoted educator since 1961, Richardson values the importance of research.

‘Ultimately educational research informs practice–policy, school administration, teaching, instruction and parenting,’ says Richardson. ‘Above all, educational research speaks to student learning and student development in the important aspects of human life, including the cognitive, moral, physical, emotional, artistic and social.’

Richardson received a Ph.D. in comparative education from Syracuse University. Her career includes work at the National Institute of Education, where she served as deputy assistant director for its Program on Teaching and Curriculum. She also served as assistant director of the National Institute of Education, directing the Teaching and Instruction Division. She is a board member of the Teaching Education Accreditation Council.

This lecture is the 17th Maycie K. Southall Distinguished Lecture on the theme of “Public Education and the Futures of Children.” Maycie Southall was a distinguished Peabody alumna and faculty member whose high standards of teaching and devotion to the cause of children influenced undergraduate and graduate students nationally and internationally. The Peabody’s Department of Teaching and Learning sponsors the Southall lecture series.

The Southall lecture is free and open to the public. A conversation hour with Richardson will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, in Room 264 of the Wyatt Center.

Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS