Stories of Research to Reality: Jim Knight


Jim Knight
Jim Knight
In early May SAGE gathered seven social scientists on Capitol Hill to tell stories, stories of their disciplines’ impact on society and the economy, and stories of their own academic journey. The underlying goal of “Stories of Research to Reality: How the Social Sciences Change the World” was both to mark SAGE’s 50th birthday as an independent publisher and to demonstrate the value and impact of social science itself, increasingly under attack as either a waste or a luxury by some legislators.

The entire event, moderated by prominent blogger and George Washington University political scientist John Sides and held at the Hart Senate Office Building, was recorded; the seven individual videos are being published here over the next seven weeks. Each tale presents one facet of the real-world value of actual social and behavioral science research, with the implicit message that this is scholarship we should be encouraging.

The fifth speaker in this series is Jim Knight, a research associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, director of the Kansas Coaching Project and president of the Instructional Coaching Group. His story – actually three stories –titled “Invisible Children” centered on three characters:

  • A shy 12-year-old girl. Diana, as Knight called her, was a girl from Mexico whose family had moved to Beaverton, Oregon, where she was plunked into a school. Since she didn’t speak English well, she tried to hide, setting herself on the track toward being a dropout.
  • Sara Langton, a middle-school science teacher for whom “it was an act of social justice to teach,” said Knight. She wrestled daily with “a classroom full of Dianas.”
  • Michelle Harris, an instructional coach who has worked with Knight for many years.

Their lives intersected in Knight’s narrative, in which he offered a combination of personally experienced anecdote and academic rigor ion describing the “complexity of being a teacher” and how Knight’s discipline addresses that. “People aren’t motivated by other people’s goals,” the coach stressed, so the key is making progress the subject’s focus, not (just) the teacher’s.

Knight has spent more than two decades studying professional learning, effective teaching, and instructional coaching. His research on professional learning, teaching, and instructional coaching have appeared in journals such as The Journal of Staff Development, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, Phi Delta Kappan, and Educational Leadership. He has written several books including 2014’s Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction.

The first speakers in this series were:

Deborah Rupp | William C. Byham Chair in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University. To see her talk, click HERE.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita | Julius Silver Professor of Politics, New York University. To see his talk, click HERE.

John W. Creswell | professor of educational psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. To see his talk, click HERE.

Claire M. Renzetti | professor of sociology, University of Kentucky. To see her talk, click HERE.

Michael Reisch | Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social Justice, University of Maryland. To see his talk, click HERE.

The final speaker in this series will be Kerric Harvey, associate professor of media and public affairs, and associate director of the Center for Innovative Media, George Washington University.

SAGE is the parent of Social Science Space.


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