Well, the semester is drawing to a close. Last week of classes with final exams next week. Last chance for professors to highlight key principles and ideas, address omissions, demystify our teaching strategies (perhaps), and offer an apologia for the inevitable gaps between teaching aspirations and learning outcomes. In my experience, professors really do care about students and they share the hope that their students will benefit from their labors.
It seems to me that the credit for university courses that go really well must be shared, as this is always a product of group effort. A “good” course is one that students choose to create by investing energy, preparing well, taking risks, sharing thoughts and life experiences with one another, going beyond the surface level of understanding. Professors can try to create conditions that foster these desirable pedagogical ends, but it is always the students who make it happen!
The great migration to this year’s American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Vancouver is about to begin. And this is as good a reason as any to highlight some resources of interest to those who are interested in educating (future or practicing) professionals. AERA Division I (Education in the Professions) will sponsor a series of scientific paper presentations, symposia and discussions this year focusing primarily on research on the education of professionals in a variety of fields (law, healthcare, engineering, teaching, social work, military, ministry…). The Division I newsletter, Professionals Education Research Quarterly (PERQ), is available online.
Here is how Division I describes itself:
The purpose of this Division is to further educational research, development, and evaluation in the professions by supporting scholarly presentations and publications; providing opportunities for professional growth and recognition; enhancing communication, outreach, and networking among members; and improving the capacity of the educational research profession to inform practice and policy as it relates to education in the professions.
Division I has brought together experts to produce a series of books focusing on education in the professions: Innovation and Change in Professional Education.
There are several other AERA Divisions and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of potential interest to people interested in professional studies. Right now, the best route to this information is through the main AERA home page (then to “about AERA” — “member constituents” — “Divisions“). For example, Divisions J and K focus on Postsecondary Education and Teaching and Teacher Education, respectively.
For all those heading to Vancouver — have a safe journey! For those who won’t be attending this year — a good chance to catch up on reading about the professions and professional life. — EdProf