BESA Conference 2017 /  Keynote Speakers

Prof. Susan Robertson
Professor of Sociology of Education at the Faulty of Education, University of Cambridge.

Dr. Colette Gray
Principal lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Stranmillis University College, Queens University Belfast.

Alison Cook-SatherProf. Alison Cook-Sather
Professor of Education and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.

Keynote Title:
Embracing an Ethic of Reciprocity: Pedagogical Partnership in Teaching and Learning

About Alison

Alison Cook-Sather is the Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Her research focuses on how differently positioned participants in education can work in partnership toward deeper learning and on how various metaphors and the classical anthropological concept of liminality can be used to analyze how education is and might be conceptualized and practiced. Supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. Cook-Sather has developed internationally recognized programs that position students as pedagogical partners to prospective secondary teachers and to practicing college faculty members. She has published over 85 articles and book chapters and given as many keynote addresses, other invited presentations, and papers at refereed conferences in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. She has published five books including Engaging Students as Partners in Learning & Teaching: A Guide for Faculty (co-authored with Catherine Bovill and Peter Felten, Jossey-Bass, 2014), Learning from the Student’s Perspective: A Sourcebook for Effective Teaching (Paradigm Publishers, 2009), and International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School (co-edited with Dennis Thiessen, Springer Publishers, 2007). From 2010-2015, she was the Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in England.

Keynote abstract

Embracing an Ethic of Reciprocity: Pedagogical Partnership in Teaching and Learning

Alison Cook-Sather, Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education, Bryn Mawr College, and Director, Teaching and Learning Institute, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, USA

Pedagogical partnerships invite students and teachers into “a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision-making, implementation, investigation, or analysis” (Cook-Sather, Bovill, & Felten, 2014, pp. 6-7). If partnership is understood as “a relationship” in which all involved are “actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together” (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2014, p. 12), then “the linchpin” of partnership is “a relational process between students and academics/staff underpinned by a mindset” (Matthews, 2016). Cook-Sather and Felten (in press, 2017) have called this mindset “an ethic of reciprocity” — an ethic that enacts the principles of respect and shared responsibility as well as reciprocity in teaching and learning (Cook-Sather, Bovill, & Felten, 2014). Working within the conceptual framework these definitions of pedagogical partnership provide, this keynote will present two of the longest standing examples of student-teacher partnership, both based at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. The first, Teaching and Learning Together, created in 1995 and based in the Colleges’ teacher preparation program, pairs secondary students with undergraduate teaching certification candidates in semester-long, email exchanges focused on pedagogical issues to prepare the prospective secondary teachers for informed classroom practice. The second, Students as Learners and Teachers, created in 2006, pairs undergraduates and academic staff in semester-long partnerships focused on classroom practice in which the staff partners are engaged. The keynote will include a discussion of the structures and outcomes of these programs and address research and policy implications of such approaches to learning and teaching guided by an ethic of reciprocity.