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Curriculum and Instruction News

Video of Hess’ AERA Ed-Talk, ‘Political Education in Polarized Times,’ now available

September 20, 2016

As part of the American Educational Research Association’s centennial year programming, AERA invited 31 people to deliver six-minute Ed-Talks that conveyed key research findings crisply, quickly and in ways that were meant to be compelling to policy leaders about the value and relevance of education research.

UW-Madison School of Education Dean Diana Hess was among those who presented earlier this year in Washington, D.C. Hess’ Ed-Talk, “Political Education in Polarized Times,” is now available for viewing on this YouTube page.

Hess Ed-TalkA research fact sheet that accompanies the video explains how: “Practiced participation in democratic processes and voting at early ages have life-long consequences for civic engagement. The acquisition of knowledge as well as hands-on exposure in civics courses and extracurricular opportunities foster the development of civic skills and heighten consideration of political issues, comprehension of the perspectives of others, and attraction to collective decision making. Civic education is associated long-term with political participation, voter turnout, and informed voting. It can also address the polarization and lack of trust that erode civil discourse and decision making in a democratic society.”

In 2015, Hess co-authored, with Paula McAvoy, “The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education.” That publication received the 2016 AERA Outstanding Book Award.

Hess’ research interests include the impact of school-based civic education programs on youth, political and civic engagement, and how students experience and learn from discussions of highly controversial political issues. A previous book, “Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion,” won the National Council for the Social Studies Exemplary Research Award in 2009.

Two alumnae from UW-Madison’s School of Education also produced AERA Ed-Talks.

Megan Franke, who earned a master’s in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1990 from the No. 1-ranked Department of Educational Psychology, delivered a talk titled, “Supporting the Development of Children’s Mathematics.” Franke is a professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles.

And Kara Finnigan, who received a Ph.D. from the Department of Educational Policy Studies in 2003, delivered an Ed-Talk titled, "Failing Systems, Complex Fix. Finnigan is an associate professor of education policy at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education.

All of the Ed-Talks, which were delivered earlier this year, are now available for viewing on this AERA web page.

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