On January 11, 2017, Education Week released the 2017 Rick Hess Straight Up Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. Deborah Ball was again included on the list of 200 university-based scholars in the U.S. who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice.
The list is intended to reflect both a scholar's larger body of work and her impact on the public discourse last year. The purpose of the list is to recognize scholarship that impacts the real world and encourage universities to invest in this meaningful work. More information about the rankings and the full list of included scholars are available here.
From November 28 to December 2, 2016, Deborah Ball participated in a site visit to the United States Antarctic Program as a member of the National Science Board (NSB). While in Antarctica, Deborah, along with a small number of NSB members and government officials, toured the facilities, reviewed the research, and met with scientists and support staff at McMurdo Station and Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station; saw the facility where NASA's Long Duration Balloons are assembled and flown; visited Point Royds, site of a large penguin rookery and Sir Shackleton’s hut; travelled aboard ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft flown by the 109th Airlift Wing; and met with graduate students.
Additional photos of the delegation and trip are available on the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs Facebook page.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball delivered one of the plenary addresses at the 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, July 30. Her talk, "Uncovering the Special Mathematical Work of Teaching," focused on the specialized set of instructional practices that are core to helping young people develop mathematical skills, ways of thinking, and identities, and supporting classrooms as equitable communities of practice. Slides from her address are available here and a video is available here.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball was recently interviewed by Cynthia Canty, host of Michigan Radio’s Stateside program, about the problems facing would-be teachers who are struggling with teacher certification tests.
“We’re creating a false threshold or barrier to get people into teaching,” Ball said. “If we test on things that are not the important kind of skills and knowledge they need, then we’re going to artificially exclude people from the profession at a time when we most need really skilled teachers.”
Ball emphasized assessing the wrong skills is one of the fundamental flaws of teacher certification tests in Michigan. “We don’t actually have a test that looks at whether they can explain content to children, whether they can manage a classroom, whether they can talk sensibly to parents, and that is the direction of the profession, assessing people on the actual skills they need to be good beginning teachers.”
Listen to the full interview here.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball recently sat down for an interview with Detroit Free Press reporter David Jesse to talk about, among other things, her time as dean of the School of Education and how teacher preparation has evolved in those 11 years.
“We do have the expertise to do research on what makes a good teacher and how we can better train them," Ball told the Free Press. "We study and improve education practice. By education practice, we mean the doing of education. We want to be an incubator of new methods, to really look at what works in teaching."
Read the full article here.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball has been voted president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her term as president begins on May 1, 2017, at the conclusion of AERA’s 2017 Annual Meeting.
She will succeed Vivian L. Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Gadsden will assume the AERA presidency on April 12, 2016, after the close of the association’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I am honored to have been elected as president-elect of AERA,” Ball said. “The organization has an important role to play in advancing systematic efforts to study and improve education. I will be working with many others to determine the most useful steps we might take together in the coming few years. I look forward to building on the work that Vivian Gadsden will do in her term as president, as well as on that of others who have served in this position before us.”
Deborah Loewenberg Ball has been named to a new commission announced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to “examine the vast—and expanding—array of learning options available to high-school graduates, including both students newly out of high school and older adults returning to school to further their lives and careers.” The aim of the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education is to study how well current students are served by today’s education system, as well as to identify challenges and opportunities that will be encountered by higher education in coming decades.
The Academy received $2.2 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to fund the three-year initiative. Spencer Foundation President Michael S. McPherson and TIAA-CREF President and CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. will co-chair the commission. “The critical issues in this area—cost, financing models, accessibility, dramatic changes in learning patterns and in technological possibilities—require our attention and close scrutiny, on behalf of all Americans,” McPherson said.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball is featured on National Public Radio’s series on 50 Great Teachers. In a wide-ranging feature, Ball talks about educating educators: "I'm really trying hard to dispel this idea that teaching is this thing you're born to do and it's somehow natural to everyday life. I don't think either of those things is true. Nobody goes out in a pilot school and is told: 'Go out in the plane today! Try it out. See how it works.’"
The feature also mentions TeachingWorks, and especially the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML). The NPR story illustrates the approach in EML with an actual fractions problem taught in the laboratory.
The feature concludes with a summarization of Ball’s approach to education: “What Ball is trying to model at U-M is a system where future teachers have to demonstrate they can do some core things–like present a math problem, and lead a discussion about it–before they're safe to practice.”
Listen to “Teaching Teachers to Teach: It’s Not So Elementary” (or read the transcript) here.