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Examining Conceptions of How People Learn Over the Decades Through AERA Presidential Addresses: Diversity and Equity as Persistent Conundrums

Abstract

"The mission statement of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) articulates the following goals: 'improving the educational process,' 'advancing knowledge about education,' '[encouraging] scholarly inquiry related to education,' and '[promoting] the use of research . . . to serve the public good.' I examine AERA presidential addresses from 1948 to 2010 as windows into how the research community has conceptualized learning and explore the following questions: (a) What has evolved in the science of learning? (b) With what persistent questions has the field wrestled? (c) In what ways has the field addressed broader factors--social, cultural, political, economic--that represented the ecological contexts in which education in formal and informal settings played out in each decade?'

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