Innovation roundup: Indigenous Learning Lab receives Spencer Foundation award

A research team from the Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS) initiative, housed in the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation.

Aydin Bal and Aaron Bird Bear
Aydin Bal (left) and Aaron Bird Bear

The project, titled “Indigenous Learning Lab: Implementation of a culturally responsive behavioral support system to address the racialization of school discipline,” is led by Aydin Bal, a professor with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, and Aaron Bird Bear, UW–Madison’s inaugural tribal relations director and an alumnus of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

The Indigenous Learning Lab is a formative intervention study that facilitates and investigates the implementation of a culturally responsive schoolwide behavioral support system at a rural high school in northern Wisconsin. The new system was designed by American Indian students, parents, teachers, community members, and school staff during the 2019–2020 academic year.

The design phase of the project was funded through the School of Education’s Grand Challenges initiative, utilizing a Transform Grant. The Spencer Foundation award will allow further examination of the project’s implementation and sustainability, in partnership with the Ojibwe tribal government, local school district, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin Indian Education Association.

Instrument design fuels groundbreaking international study of teaching

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced at its Paris headquarters in November the findings of an international education study unique in its scope and research methods.

And essential to the study’s success are observation systems designed by UW–Madison’s Courtney Bell, a principal investigator of the study and a learning sciences professor who directs the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER).

Courtney Bell

Launched to identify teaching practices used around the world, Global Teaching InSights: A Video Study of Teaching — also called the TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey) Video Study — looked directly into the classrooms of 700 teachers across eight countries and economies to capture on video how each taught the same mathematics topic to their students.

In building these systems collaboratively with global teaching experts, Bell’s team created the first standardized observational instruments used to measure teaching and learning of the same unit of instruction across multiple countries.

This innovative method of collecting data and evidence in video recordings spanned two lessons led by each of the 700 secondary mathematics instructors who participated in the study. Each teacher was recorded teaching quadratic equa- tions in their classrooms in Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The videos document the teachers’ practices for managing the classroom, providing social-emotional support, and delivering quality instruction. The study links those practices to students’ growth in mathematics, personal interest in math, and self-efficacy.

The observation systems developed by Bell and her colleagues are now in the public domain and available to other researchers.

“There are so many fascinating similarities and differences across countries that we hope other researchers will explore further by making use of the study’s publicly available data,” says Bell.

Around the School …

  • The School of Education’s Simon Goldberg, along with his colleagues at UW–Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, have received a $500,000 award from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation to develop a highly scalable, mobile health intervention to support treatment for depression. Goldberg is an assistant professor with the School’s Department of Counseling Psychology.
  • Brian Burt and Blayne Stone are authors of an article in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, titled “STEM validation among underrepresented students: Lever- aging insights from a STEM diversity program to broaden participation.” Burt, the lead author, is a faculty member with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA), and Stone is an ELPA doctoral student.
  • Kevin Henry has published a new paper in the journal Educational Policy titled, “ ‘The Price of Disaster’: The Charter School Authorization Process in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” Henry is an assistant professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Utilizing the case of post-Katrina New Orleans, the paper applies Critical Race Theory to the charter school authorization process, which Henry writes is “an understudied aspect of charter school policy.”