Category Archives: Human Service Professionals

Professions Education Research

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

A Postmodern Pearl

South Dakota Classroom

South Dakota Classroom

The Pedagodfathers: Lords of Education is a remarkable text — complex, multilayered and imaginative.  It captures the wonderful world of educational discourse through the voice of an “old hand” sharing his thoughts and observations with a young educator at the beginning of his career.  The book presents many keen insights and “pearls of wisdom.”  In the words below, the old hand (mentor) offers his best and final advice:  to treasure each moment, choose fresh beginnings and share the wine of life with others.   In the passage below, we are told to expect no more of ourselves than this.

“Eliot understood hell better than Sartre. Not that Sartre was completely wrong. He wasn’t. He was even right as far as he went. Hell is, at times, others. The pedagodfathers certainly torture all of us…But hell, as Eliot so beautifully conveys the ugly truth, is also oneself — our drives and choices, their consequences; our fears, failures, pretensions, delusions; our extended, unending solitude; our loss of dignity and self; and our imprisonment as strangers. He offers an exit, however, unlike Sartre: fresh beginning, each moment of the day if necessary. Fresh beginnings, however, are almost over for some of us; but, there are plenty left for people like you and Sophia. I hope you’ll take advantage of them. We need educators and attorneys, even administrators, who choose to enjoy a good life as they seek to build, protect and extend a just, free, good and caring society. Our hope — individually, professionally, institutionally — rests in each person’s treasuring each moment, choosing fresh beginnings and sharing the wine of life with others. No one can ask more from us, and we dare not expect more of ourselves” (Simpson, 1994, p. 157).

It is interesting to juxtapose this advice with the notion expressed earlier in this book about the nature of success (See  “On Doing What One Ought to Do“).  Captives of our culture, we (educators, human service professionals) are advised to live principled lives as well as good lives, while dedicating ourselves to creating and preserving “a just, good, free, and caring society.”  Two moral imperatives — to do what one ought (thereby redefining our conceptions of success), and to enjoy oneself while doing so!  This reminds me of Martha Wolfenstein’s fun morality construct — the mid-20th century notion that parenting should be fun and enjoyable, and if we find it otherwise, there must be a problem!  — EdProf

References and Photo Credit

Simpson, D. (1994). The Pedagodfathers: The Lords of Education. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig.

Wolfenstein, Martha (1951).  The emergence of fun morality.  Journal of Social Issues 7 (4): 15-25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1951.tb02249.x

Photo Credit: Classroom, by Mike Kamrud of South Dakota.  Taken in 2010 and posted to Pics4Learning in 2011.  http://www.pics4learning.com/details.php?img=classroom.jpg