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Educational Studies

Educational studies class Educational studies class

Department Overview

In an era of rapidly increasing racial, ethnic, social, and linguistic diversity and technological change, students in Educational Studies are supported to use research and theoretical frameworks from a range of disciplines to explore, extend, and question existing research, theory, and practice. Working together with faculty, they critically and creatively address issues of educational practice at multiple levels: the individual student and teacher, the school community, and the institution.

Faculty members support students to identify their own interests and develop a solid foundation of approaches that can be used for problem solving. Students learn how to employ qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies to think about educational research, policy, theory, and practice through the lens provided by anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, gender studies, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Students are guided to develop an understanding of research and theory within the realities of practice and to use practice to reevaluate both research and theory.

Faculty members in the department conduct engaged scholarship; their research and practice are grounded in their partnerships with schools, practitioners, and communities, in suburban and urban settings that range from classrooms to community programs. Students often contribute as research assistants and collaborators. Some recent examples of faculty projects on which students have assisted include:

• tracking positive educational pathways for black boys [Joseph Nelson

• identifying effective curricular support for bilingual and multilingual classrooms [Elaine Allard

• developing coalitions across groups of students [Roseann Liu

• evaluating the reciprocal teaching and learning of literacy and identity [Diane Anderson

• understanding cultural differences in the identification of disability [Margie Linn

• assessing motivation and learning in science inquiry workshops [Ann Renninger

• promoting teacher leadership [Lisa Smulyan

• supporting agency in students and teachers working for racial justice [Jennifer Bradley

• clarifying components of the broad cultural-political context that informs educational processes [Edwin Mayorga

Students hone their research skills in upper level courses, and, during the summer, they can apply for support to pursue further training through work on a professor’s project, or their own research interests. Experiences of this type provide students with a rich base from which to investigate their thesis questions as seniors at the College.

Students who pursue course work in Educational Studies develop richly informed perspectives on the role of education in society. They go on to become leaders in a wide-range of fields: discipline-based research in higher education (e.g., anthropology, English, linguistics, psychology, sociology, math education, science education, computer science); general education including teaching, school leadership and policy; community organization and development; clinical psychology, counseling, English as a second language, special education, social work; medicine; and law.

educational studies

Students share their love in our Educational Materials Center.

student reading to parent and teacher at workshop

Student from Teaching Diverse Young Learners participating in a workshop on talking to children about difference.

Students present at senior poster session

Students share their love in our Educational Materials Center.

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Jason Oliver Chang talks about his book, Chino: Anti-Chinese racism in Mexico, 1880-1940

From the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, antichinismo --the politics of racism against Chinese Mexicans--found potent expression in Mexico. Jason Oliver Chang delves into the untold story of how antichinismo helped the revolutionary Mexican state, and the elite in control, of it build their nation. As Chang shows, anti-Chinese politics shared intimate bonds with a romantic ideology that surrounded the transformation of the mass indigenous peasantry into dignified mestizos. Racializing a Chinese Other became instrumental in organizing the political power and resources for winning Mexico's revolutionary war, building state power, and seizing national hegemony in order to dominate the majority Indian population. By centering the Chinese in the drama of Mexican history, Chang opens up a fascinating untold story about the ways antichinismo was embedded within Mexico's revolutionary national state and its ideologies. Groundbreaking and boldly argued, Chino is a first-of-its-kind look at the essential role the Chinese played in Mexican culture.

This event was sponsored by: the Educational Studies Dept, the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, the Asian Studies Program, the Tri-Co Asian Americanist Faculty Group, the Intercultural Center, the History Dept, the Spanish Dept, the Chinese Program,  Latinx Heritage Month, the Sociology and Anthropology Dept, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

Jason Oliver Chang at a lunchtime talk with students and faculty

Talking to Children About Difference

Students in EDUC 42 Teaching Diverse Young Learners class met with area teachers and parents for a workshop on talking to children about difference.  The Ed Studies students presented children's books on various topics, and each group discussed the content.

books presented at teacher and student workshop

Jasmine Betancourt externship with Paloma Perez at Burness Communications

Jasmine Betancourt spent two weeks interning with Paloma Perez ’14 at Burness, a global communications firm in Washington, D.C. that works primarily with non-profits. Jasmine worked on editing and revising the company’s media lists and attended meetings with Paloma to get a sense of the breadth of her work.  Jasmine’s experience led her to reflect on her own competence – and the sometimes unrecognized competence of people like her own parents who didn’t attend elite schools.  The time spent with Paloma and her friends in DC also helped Jasmine begin to think about her own next steps, perhaps working in Congress as a way of developing and implementing policy.

Jasmine Betancourt at Burness Communications

Aqil (Tarzan) Macmood externship with Lani Seidel Horn at Vanderbilt University

During my January 2019 externship I flew to Nashville to do an externship at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education with alumna Lani Seidel Horn ‘93. During the week, I did video analysis for one of Dr. Horn's research projects and contributed to the weekly project team meeting. I also got to join methods courses and seminars with undergraduate and graduate students, which allowed me to partake in awesome conversations and connect with other passionate students pursuing STEM educational studies. In addition, I met with STEM education professors and talked to them about STEM education and their research interests. I also met up with Fai Wisittanawat ‘13 and Danielle Keifert ‘04, both studying and working at Vanderbilt.  This one week taught me so much about the present areas of research in STEM. I'm very grateful for the program Dr. Horn and her colleagues put together and I'm grateful for Swarthmore College for giving me the opportunity to develop my passions in math education and to travel to Nashville for this inspiring experience––here's a picture displaying my happiness on Peabody's campus and the smile that I carried back to Swarthmore!

Tarzan Macmood at Vanderbilt University

Nelson Flores '03 on Second Language Acquisition

Dr. Flores has a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center. His research attempts to bridge theory and practice in ways that transform educational programming for language-minoritized students. His research agenda works to (1) problematize current trends in language education that reproduce oppressive language ideologies (2) develop new research methodologies for analyzing language practices of these oppressive frameworks, and (3) re-imagine language education in ways that resist these ideologies.

Read the article.

Professor Nelson Flores

Maddy Feldman '17 on Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil

Maddy Feldman '17 is doing a one-year Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil. Before she began she caught up with Heitor Santos '17, observing him in his classroom.

Maddy Feldman and Heitor Santos in Brazil

Elizabeth Flores '19 receives Klock/Shuchman Scholarship

Elizabeth Flores, an Educational Studies minor, has been chosen to receive the Barbara L. Klock '86 and Salem D. Shuchman '84 Scholarship, created in 2000. Awarded to a junior or senior who intends to enter the teaching profession, the recipient is chosen by the Financial Aid Office in consultation with the faculty of the educational studies program at Swarthmore. Elizabeth will do her student teaching in the Fall of 2019 in secondary Biology.

The Educational Studies department congratulates Elizabeth on a job well done.

Student and Alumni Profiles

Ashley Hong '17: The American Education Research Association (AERA) undergraduate student education research workshop during the annual 2017 AERA conference in San Antonio, Texas was an amazing opportunity. It consisted of learning about graduate school from current doctoral candidates, networking with undergraduate peers entering the field, exposing myself to the work of junior and senior scholars, and exploring how to conduct precise, methodologically sound research. Because I majored in sociology, I was particularly excited to meet others in fields outside of educational studies – such as cognitive science and nonprofit development – whose work and research questions also revolve around education. For me, the workshop reaffirmed the necessity of education research, and how it can and should be used to impact perspectives and policy. The workshop also affirmed my interest in and commitment to education policy research. I am currently in a research assistant position focused on educational opportunities and support for vulnerable youth.

Alumni Pathways

What do alums do with a Swarthmore Educational Studies background or degree? Read about seventeen Swarthmore alums and their careers after college.