Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, has authored a new book, “From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education,” scheduled for release on April 15 by Harvard Education Press.
Seeking to explain why educational research fails to penetrate practice, Schneider turns the problem on its head—examining several well-known ideas that bridged the gap between the ivory tower and the classroom. In the process, he identifies four factors crucial for bridging educational research and teaching practice: perceived significance, philosophical compatibility, occupational realism, and transportability. As such, the work not only highlights the complexity of the relationship between scholarship and practice, but also outlines future directions for those seeking to connect those two worlds.
“There’s a big body of literature of why scholarship doesn’t actually make it into the classroom,” explained Schneider. “I wanted to find the weird exceptions that did. I wanted to figure out how these ideas make it into practice—even though they aren’t necessarily good.” To do this, Schneider conducted surveys and interviews of teachers, drew on archival materials and primary documents, and read 100 years worth of journals, policy memos, and personal memoirs to gather data.
Leading scholars in the field have identified the work as a groundbreaking contribution. “This book should be required reading for all people new to the field of education,” argued Richard F. Elmore, Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “It is a thoughtful, dispassionate, carefully documented analysis of how ideas in good currency—and their related practices—are formed, and why some persist and others don’t. A sobering and powerful challenge to the field.”
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