Article by UW–Madison’s Bal, others examines design of culturally responsive ‘Learning Lab’

UW–Madison’s Aydin Bal, a professor in the School of Education’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education (RPSE), is first author of an article published in the journal Cognition and Instruction that is titled, “Inclusive Future Making: Building a Culturally Responsive Behavioral Support.”

Aydin Bal and co-authors
Bal (upper left), Afacan, Clardy, and Cakir

Joining Bal as co-authors of the paper are UW–Madison alumni Kemal Afacan and Halil Ibrahim Cakir, and Tremayne Clardy, the new superintendent of the Verona Area School District. Afacan and Ibrahim both earned their doctorates from RPSE and are professors of special education at universities in Turkey.

Drawing on a one-and-half-year study at an urban middle school, the article presents an inclusive design process through which teachers, families, administrators, and community members — especially those from racially minoritized communities — designed a behavioral support system called “Learning Lab” that is responsive to diverse histories, perspectives, practices, and the goals of their school community.

According to Bal, the article “shows the possibilities of transforming marginalizing systems from the ground up, and collectively envisions schools as spaces of solidarity, emancipation, and innovation.”

Learn more and access the article at

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