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Lisa Smulyan Swarthmore College, USA

My early research focused on teacher professional development through classroom-based action research. In addition to that applied work, I also do qualitative research which examines the intersection of teachers' and administrators' personal and professional lives within particular institutional and social contexts. I am particularly interested in the role that gender plays as a part of the construction of self in students', teachers', and administrators' experiences. I also explore the advantages and dilemmas inherent in using qualitative research methods, in particular ethnography and life history interviews, as a way of bringing previously unheard voices and frameworks of meaning making into the field. I am currently moving into an exploration of some of these issues in international contexts. I have examined teacher education and staff development in Indonesia, South Africa, and China and worked directly with teachers in Indonesia to explorethe possibility of more student-centered learning. Most of my courses are interdisciplinary, drawing on work in the fields of Psychology, Sociology and History. In courses and seminars such as Comparative Education, Adolescence, Gender and Education, and Social and Cultural Perspectives in Education my goal is to help students examine the interactions among individuals, institutions, and social contexts. I am interested in exploring - and having students explore - the role of schools as social institutions that can both contribute to and simultaneously challenge existing social constructs and power relationships.