NIE Higher Degrees Distinguished Speaker Series and
NIE-Teachers College Symposium

Dr Baildon
NIE-TC symposium

Changing Conceptions of Youth, School and Work

The annual NIE-Teachers College (TC) Symposium is an important highlight in the ongoing partnership between NIE, NTU and TC, Columbia University. The theme of the 2020 symposium, held on 10 January 2020 was: “Changing conceptions of youth, school and work”. TC’s Nancy Lesko, Maxine Greene Professor of Education, focused on “Alternative Conceptions of Adolescence as a Basis for Curriculum”. NIE’s Mark  Baildon, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Office of Education Research spoke about "Finding Meaning and Purpose in Education Amidst Emerging Trends in Education". The symposium was chaired by A/P Mary Anne Heng, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Professional Learning, NIE.     

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Becoming a Researcher and Scholar

Professor A. Lin Goodwin was invited as the NIE Higher Degrees Distinguished Speaker from 10 to 11 January 2019. She is Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Prior to joining HKU in 2017, she was Vice Dean at Teachers College, Columbia University (TCCU) in New York, and the Evenden Foundation Chair of Education. She delivered the Distinguished Lecture, “Becoming a researcher and scholar: Theoretical, practical and philosophical lessons for surviving . . . and thriving!”, which was framed by her conceptualisation of the Five Dimensions of Knowledge for Teaching that offered rich perspectives and raised important questions for scholars to keep themselves wide awake to research possibilities. In a seminar with NIE’s doctoral students entitled, “Doing research that matters, to both the researcher and the researched”, she highlighted the challenges, tensions and dilemmas commonly encountered by graduate students and offered some principles to guide research that matters.

A special feature of this publication is the inaugural symposium by NIE NTU and Teachers College Columbia University on 11 January 2019 with the theme, “Beyond exams: Transforming schools in the changing educational landscape in Singapore”. The event highlighted the challenges posed by complex educational issues in the face of a changing and uncertain future that require school leaders, teachers, students and parents to engage in new ways of thinking, doing and being. Drawing on research and practices in school change and leadership from Singapore, the United States and elsewhere, the symposium sought to raise questions about teaching, learning and assessment, and challenge assumptions about innovations in education.

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Nurturing for Talent Development and Impactful Research 

Professor Rena Subotnik was invited as the NIE Higher Degrees Distinguished Speaker from 10 to 12 January 2018. Professor Subotnik is with the Education Directorate, and is Director, Center for Psychology in the Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association. Her research expertise is in creativity, innovation and talent development. At the Distinguished Lecture entitled, “Talent development toward creative eminence in the 21st century”, Professor Subotnik highlighted that the challenges posed by problems in the new century require a rethinking of the elements associated with the development of talent and creative productivity. She underscored that talent preparation is developmental in nature and teachable with guidance and practice. Professor Subotnik encouraged professors and education leaders to incorporate skills in mentoring their students, help students develop collaborative skills and resilience, and acquire insider knowledge of a domain. In the seminar with NIE academic faculty and graduate students entitled, “Talent development for STEAM: Applications from the psychology of high performance to academic domains”, Professor Subotnik presented interesting research on multiyear students studying science and classical music that highlighted the differences between audition selection versus science testing, explicit versus no explicit psychosocial skills teaching, and other important applications from the psychology of high performance to academic domains. In the seminar, “Nurturing young talents”, Professor Subotnik provided new insights for identifying talent in the domain areas, and spoke about the variation involved in particular domains as to when abilities can be identified and nurtured, particularly in young children. The seminar with NIE’s doctoral students entitled, “Doing meaningful and impactful research”, focused on valuable ideas for beginning educational researchers. She shared how randomised controlled trials (RCTs) can be designed and implemented with qualitative methods to analyse policy and research implications and get the most “bang” for all the hard work that goes into developing a RCT.

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Navigating the Tensions and Paradoxes in Preparing Educational Researchers 

Professor David Labaree was invited as the NIE Higher Degrees Distinguished Speaker from 4 to 6 January 2017. David Labaree is a Professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and a Professor (by courtesy) in history. His research focuses on the historical sociology of American schooling, including topics such as the evolution of high schools, the growth of consumerism, the origins and nature of education schools, and the role of schools in promoting access and advantage more than subject-matter learning. At the Distinguished Lecture entitled, “Peculiar problems of preparing educational researchers”, Professor Labaree emphasised that the problems of educational practice cannot be fixed unless there is deep understanding of practice in the steady work of educational reform. In the seminars with NIE academic faculty and graduate students entitled, “What schools can’t do” and “The trouble with educational schools in the U.S.”, Professor Labaree raised a range of issues in education. From arguing about the lack of causal relationship between education and productivity, to decrying the politicisation of education and acknowledging the challenges of graduate schools of education, he provided a cogent and critical analysis of education and education systems. In a seminar with beginning doctoral students, “Sermon on educational research”, he shared the wisdom of staying truthful in uncovering the big questions and assumptions in education research. Professor Labaree also stimulated rich discussion among a panel of NIE professors in response to key points raised in his lecture, “The peculiar problems of preparing educational researchers: What can NIE do?”

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