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Teaching & curriculum professor honored by national education group

Professor honored by national education group
Joanne Larson receives the Henry T. Trueba award from AERA   

Joanne Larson, Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education at the Warner School of Education and Human Development, who has spent years studying how language and literacy practices mediate social and power relations in literacy events in schools and communities, has received an award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for her research work. AERA’s Division G, Social Contexts of Education, will present Larson with the 2022 Henry T. Trueba Award for Research Leading to the Transformation of the Social Contexts of Education at the AERA annual conference in April.  

“Dr. Larson is committed to transforming social contexts of education throughout her teaching and research endeavors,” says Eleni Duret, a PhD candidate in teaching and curriculum at the Warner School, who nominated Larson for this award. “Such commitment manifests in how she seeks out collaborative opportunities for generating knowledge and actively showcases and uplifts the voices of historically marginalized individuals who have been socialized to believe that their perspectives are not valuable. Dr. Larson more than values these perspectives, which motivate her work and advance the transformative possibilities of academia for all directly and peripherally involved.”

The award is given annually to a scholar who has made distinguished contributions to transforming the contexts under which children, youth or adults learn and/or teach. Trueba was known as an advocate for expanding learning opportunities for those in the greatest need and for developing the talent of immigrant and marginalized populations. 

“I am deeply honored to receive the Trueba award,” Larson says. "I was privileged to have met Dr. Trueba and to read his scholarly work. I am humbled.”

A noted scholar of curriculum development, Larson focuses her research and teaching on language and literacy, how young people develop literacy practices, and how schools and teachers can adapt and implement change to improve the development of those practices. She has been part of the University’s EPO partnership with East High School, where she serves on the leadership team, co-led the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) committee and is conducting a long-term participatory ethnography. As associate director of the Center for Urban Education Success, Larson leads and oversees research at East.

Larson serves on the editorial board of several peer-review journals, including Research in the Teaching of EnglishJournal of Early Childhood Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly. She collaborated with Rochester community residents on participatory action research that examined changes associated with transforming a local corner store into a cornerstone of the community. Her book Community literacies as shared resources for transformation (Routledge, 2018) narrates how this transformation occurred for the research team and the community in the dialogic spaces of on-the-ground collaboration. She is also the author of Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling (Routledge, 2014), co-author of Making Literacy Real: Theories and Practices in Learning and Teaching, Second Edition (2015), editor of Literacy as Snake Oil: Beyond the Quick Fix, Second Edition (Lang, 2007) and co-editor of Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy (Sage, 2014). 

In addition to her scholarly work, Larson is director of the Genesee Valley Writing Project, which seeks to improve the quality of student writing and learning in schools across Monroe County and surrounding counties. She holds a PhD in curriculum from the University of California, Los Angeles.