Monday, October 11, 2010

Interview with Pedro Noguera

By Sam Piha

Pedro Noguera
Below is a brief interview with Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University and member of the National Advisory Group for the Learning in Afterschool project. A more complete bio follows this interview.

Q: You had a hand in creating the Broader and Bolder Approach to Education project. Can you tell us a bit about that project?

A: A group of us - researchers, educators, policymakers, etc. were concerned about the narrow approach to education reform that characterized No Child Left Behind.  We felt that with a new administration coming in we had an opportunity to appeal for a broader approach, one that focused on early childhood education, healthcare, and extended learning opportunities.  Essentially, we wanted to stress the idea that more of what had not worked - high stakes testing, blame and pressure on schools, would not get us different results. 

Q: How do the Learning in Afterschool principles relate to the Broader and Bolder Approach to Education? 

A: The learning principles are very complimentary to the ideas contained and supported by BBA.  We want to see a more holistic approach taken to educating children, one that responds to the developmental needs of the student and focuses on fostering intellectual curiosity and a love of learning.  The principles contained in Learning in Afterschool promote such an approach, and if applied with fidelity, could lead to real improvements in educational outcomes for kids. 

Q: You recently gave a keynote address at a conference in Los Angeles focused on STEM and afterschool hours where you spoke about the Learning in Afterschool principles. Can you say why you used the LIA principles? 

A: I used the LIA principles because I felt they captured many of the core elements that a successful afterschool program should have.  Actually, those principles should be reflected in classrooms during the regular school day as well.  We spend so much time focused on "achievement" and so little time focused on how to motivate students to learn.  The principles advocated by Learning in Afterschool strike the right balance and make sense. 

Dr. Noguera is an urban sociologist whose scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment. He is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and the co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings (IGEMS). Dr. Noguera was a classroom teacher in public schools in Providence, RI and Oakland, CA.  He has held tenured faculty appoints at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (2000-2003), and at the University of California, Berkeley (1990-2000). His work has appeared in multiple major research journals. 

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