Lauren Resnick

Lauren ResnickLAUREN RESNICK is Distinguished University Professor of Learning Sciences and Education Policy as well as Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also the Founder and Director of the Institute for Learning and currently Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Having discovered her passion for history and literature while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Radcliffe College, Resnick continued her studies earning both a master’s degree in teaching and her doctorate from Harvard University before teaching abroad at the American School of Paris.

In addition to working as a research associate for the Harvard University Committee on Programmed Instruction and Laboratory for Research in Instruction and then as a lecturer in the Office of Research and Evaluation in the Division of Teacher Education at City University of New York, Resnick also served as a Senior Scientist and Staff Consultant at Basic Systems, Inc. before accepting her first faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh. As a faculty member, educational researcher, and scholar, Resnick has dedicated more than 50 years to conducting pioneering research on learning and development, scientific understanding in children, and socially shared cognition. As past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA, 1986-1987) and a member of both the National Academy of Education (NAE) and International Academy of Education (IAE), she has served as an invited lecturer, visiting scholar, and keynote speaker at universities around the world. In recognition of her distinguished contributions to research, she has received numerous awards and honors including as a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (APA) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies of Sciences (Engineering and Medicine); Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education (AERA, 1990); Edward L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education (APA, 1998); Oeuvre Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Learning and Instruction (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction, 1999); Award for Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training (APA, 2007); Wallace Foundation Distinguished Lecture Award (AERA, 2009); and the FABBS Award (Fabbs Foundation, 2011). As of 2016, Resnick published more than 200 scholarly works that have been cited more than 25,000 times. Her recent authored and edited books include: Socializing Intelligence Through Academic Talk and Dialogue (2015, with C. Asterhan and S. L. Clarke); Reading and Writing with Understanding (2009, with S. Hampton); Reading and Writing Grade by Grade (2009, with S. Hampton); and Speaking and Listening for Preschool through Third Grade (2009, with C. E. Snow).

For more information, visit Lauren Resnick’s Website. To learn more about Lauren Resnick from her colleagues and friends, visit her Reflections. To view photographs from Lauren Resnick’s personal collection, visit her Photo Gallery.

Visit the video below to watch a short overview of the interview with Lauren Resnick. Otherwise, see all five of the full interviews with Lauren Resnick below.

Video Interviews with Lauren Resnick:

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Lauren Resnick describes the experiences of her grandparents as immigrants to the United States in the late 19th century and her father’s work as a representative of Western farming families during her youth. She recalls the profound impact of her early experiences traveling the country to various farming communities on her views of others, noting that diverse Americans have been able to “make deep friendships across the boundaries.” Encouraged by her parents who highly valued post-secondary education to apply to Ivy League schools, although many had not previously admitted Jewish students, Resnick received numerous acceptances before choosing to attend Radcliffe College. In this clip, learn more from Dr. Resnick about her experiences studying at Radcliffe and later at Harvard University with Drs. B. F. Skinner and Jerome Bruner. Learn also about her early work as an educational researcher and scholar.

Having served as a distinguished faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh for more than 50 years, Dr. Lauren Resnick describes her ongoing research on learning inside and outside of schools. Recalling several influential studies in which researchers examined how learning occurs when multiple individuals accomplish complex tasks such as navigating a ship or landing an airplane, she reflects that “what we were doing in school had isolated school from the realities of how highly intellectual activities [were done].” Noting that “the way we do things in school isn’t the only way to learn,” Resnick describes the need to recognize that learning out of school is rarely done privately and is often ritualized. She adds that “kids know things that teachers don’t know they know.” Watch this clip to hear more from Dr. Resnick about how to prepare teachers to reflect on their own professional practice in ways that help students learn.

Reflecting on her work in Accountable Talk, Dr. Lauren Resnick explains the importance of the listener’s sense-making as part of the process in determining “what it means to be right.” Based on this premise, she describes current research findings that suggest robots asking the right questions could potentially facilitate student learning in post-secondary courses. Additional studies need to be conducted in this area. Reaffirming the value of teacher reflection, however, she notes the need to empower teachers “to learn what to look for in their own behavior and in their students” when using Accountable Talk in the classroom. Resnick adds that teacher training is needed in which Accountable Talk is considered an instructional as well as a classroom management strategy. In this clip, learn more from Dr. Resnick about the potential for new research in current contexts of accountability policy and the need to have conversations with practitioners about what is really important.

Widely recognized for her dedication to working with practitioners and their students, Dr. Lauren Resnick reflects on her past research on effort-orientated systems, noting that “anybody can learn anything if they work at it.” Although she cautions that “effort” is often simplified and equated to teaching students to have “grit,” Resnick explains that this research fundamentally contradicts notions of fixed intelligence. Adding that tests of intelligence have traditionally been used to track students into certain classes in schools, she summarizes the importance of recognizing students’ ability to learn, noting that “we don’t really care what your native ability is…if you are willing to work and we can get you some good help and good teaching, you can do anything you want.” Watch this clip to hear more from Dr. Resnick about the historical background of intelligence testing and how teachers can help all students learn.

Explaining that she remains uninspired by “trying to do things the way they have always been done,” Dr. Lauren Resnick notes that “people are potentially much smarter than they become as a result of the schooling we now offer.” Reflecting on her work in Accountable Talk as a strategy for helping students learn, she cautions, however, against the use of curriculum that isolates its social and cognitive aspects. Recalling the profound impact of early experiences working with scholars such as B. F. Skinner, Jerome Bruner, Bob Glaser, and Alan Newell on her own research, Resnick encourages graduate students and early career scholars to find good mentors who will support their work. In this clip, learn more from Dr. Resnick about her passion for mathematics and enjoy stories about her experience using the Internet more than a half century ago.

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