GSE faculty member John Nimmo generates global early childhood documentary

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What is a right? What rights do children have in their schools, families and communities? And most importantly, What are the rights young children believe they should have in order to reach their full potential and participate in their community? These are the questions early childhood Professor John Nimmo pondered as he embarked on a film project entitled “Voices of Children,” for the World Forum Foundation (WFF).

John Nimmo, assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, is working with a team of multinational educators to discover the central values of our youngest global citizens –ages birth to eight years old. He is a member of the Working Initiative on Children’s Rights, for the WFF, an international consortium of educators working to improve the lives of young children around the world.

Nimmo’s global committee of early childhood educators and videographers sought to establish the voice of children in a documentary that would help adults understand the point of view of children. The group wondered what children actually knew about their rights. How did they feel about their place in society? And what was truly important to them?

For Nimmo, it was a unique chance to work with early childhood professionals from around the world. “What would it look like for videographers and social scientists from Brazil to come together with educators from the United States and Singapore and come to India and think about not only how we listen and how we speak about rights but also how we document them and make them visible?” said Nimmo, who has spent 30+ years working in early childhood education in multiple countries and cultures. “In the process, our goal was to unpack the typically Western and individualistic concept of rights and develop a more complex and culturally inclusive understanding.” Continue reading

GSE and PSU fondly remember Ron Narode

Ron Narode 3Feb 4, 1954 – Feb 23, 2016

We are so saddened to lose our friend and colleague, Ron Narode, who died on February 23, 2016.

Ron was an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, serving more than 25 years at PSU. He was a beloved teacher of math and science education, as well as a valued colleague throughout the University.

Ron brought a tremendous breadth of knowledge and experience to his work, including studies of Chinese, Judaic studies, philosophy, and English before pursuing his MAT in physics, and then his EdD in math and science education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was a masterful educator, always posing questions and exemplifying the passionate curiosity that he inspired in his students and colleagues.

Over his career at PSU, in addition to teaching, Ron published three books and wrote scores of articles on teaching math and science curriculum. He was principal investigator for over 43 grants totaling $14,115,079, including a multistate National Science Foundation grant in the amount of $10M with Portland Public Schools. In 1989 he was a Fulbright scholar in Portugal at the Universidade do Minho. He taught education at the University of the South Pacific, in Suva, Fiji, from 1989 to 1991. Continue reading

GSE faculty member Will Parnell publishes new book

Will Parnell bookAssociate Professor Will Parnell (CI) has published a book on early childhood research practices, Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research (Routledge, 2016), with Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Parnell is an Early Childhood Education faculty member and pedagogical liaison to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center. He has published and presented scores of papers on early childhood pedagogy. This is his second book.

About the book

Recent and increasing efforts to standardize young children’s academic performance have shifted the emphases of education toward normative practices and away from qualitative, substantive intentions. Connection to human experience, compassion for societal ailments, and the joys of learning are straining under the pressure of quantitative research, competition, and test scores, exemplified by federal funding competitions and policymaking.

Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research critically interrogates the traditional foundations of early childhood research practices to disrupt the status quo through imaginative, cutting-edge research in diverse U.S. and international contexts. Its chapters are driven by empirical data derived from unique research projects and a variety of contemporary methodologies that include phenomenological studies, auto-ethnographic writings, action-oriented studies, arts-based methodologies, and other innovative approaches. By giving voice to marginalized social science researchers who are active in learning, school, and early education sectors, this volume explores the meanings of actionable and everyday approaches based on the experiences of young children, their families, and educators. Continue reading

GSE hosts international mathematics conference

Conference presenters Peter Gates and Ubiratan D'Ambrosio at KBOO radio

Conference presenters Peter Gates and Ubiratan D’Ambrosio at KBOO radio

The eighth international Mathematics Education and Society (MES) conference took place at Portland State University, June 21–26, 2015. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, professor in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Curriculum and Instruction Department, and Brian Greer, adjunct instructor in the GSE, organized the conference. This year marks the first time that the MES conference has been held in the United States, with previous conferences having taken place in Europe, Australia, and South Africa. The conference provides a forum for the discussion of historical, cultural, social, and political aspects of mathematics education and how it both reflects and impacts society. The conference was attended by more than 150 people from over 20 countries.

GSE Dean Randy Hitz said, “The Mathematics Education and Society Conference is unique and extremely important as it focuses on the ethical responsibilities of mathematicians and mathematics educators, including making mathematics accessible to all students and reflecting critically on what is done with the mathematics developed.”

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Samuel Henry presented with President’s Diversity Award

HenryDr. Samuel Henry is the 2015 winner of the President’s Diversity Award for faculty. He was honored at the eighth annual PSU President’s Diversity Awards, held this year at the Native American Center.

Henry is an associate professor and past chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Department and was also a GSE doctoral program coordinator. He has served on many committees both inside and outside PSU, including the PSU internationalization Council, the Diversity Action Council, and the Academic Priorities Committee. He is a member and chair of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, appointed by both Governors Kulongoski and Kitzhaber.

Henry was honored for his compassionate work with students. He has a unique ability to bring them together and transform them into a community of scholars where “all voices are represented and heard.”

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PSU alumnus Gustavo Balderas named Eugene superintendent

Gustavo BalderasDr. Gustavo (Gus) Balderas, a 2001 graduate of the PSU Master in Curriculum and Instruction program, has been selected as the new superintendent of Eugene 4J School District. He is originally from Nyssa near the Oregon/Idaho border and attended Western Oregon State College and Portland State University. He did both his Initial and his Continuing Administrator Licensure at Portland State. His doctorate is from the University of Oregon. He is currently superintendent of Ocean View School District in California and will take over for Superintendent Sheldon Berman in Eugene on July 1.

Balderas has been in education for 23 years, 17 of those in the Hillsboro School District. He has served as a teacher, school principal, counselor, and assistant superintendent. He brings a solid history of work around diversity and cultural proficiency. He is a co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA), and a past member of the Oregon Leadership Network (OLN).

The Eugene School District is the seventh-largest district in Oregon, with over 17,000 students in 18 elementary schools, two K–8 programs, seven middle schools, and four comprehensive high schools.