Successful Doctoral Defence in the EDiTE Programme

The doctoral defence of Monika Rusnak (Self-Funded Researcher within the EDiTE Programme) was held on June 17th in the University of Lower Silesia. Rusnak’s dissertation entitled, Learning to Trust. Teacher Research in Support of Democratic Collaboration among Parents and Teachers, reveals the various dimensions of distrust in education.  Her action research conducted with parents, teachers and students offers rich insight into structural, relational and contextual barriers to meaningful educational partnerships. Monika’s dissertation was supervised by Prof. DSW dr hab. Hana Červinková and co-supervised by Prof. Luis Tinoca from the University of Lisbon. Dr hab. Anna Wirkus-Babicka was the auxilary supervisor. The dissertation was reviewed by Prof. dr hab. Maria Czerepaniak-Walczak (University of Szczecin) and Prof. dr hab. Maria Mendel (University of Gdańsk). On June 18, 2019, the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Education of ULS awarded her with doctoral degree and bestowed her with distinction. As an EDiTE researcher, Monika Rusnak also received the European Doctorate in Teacher Education.

International Perspectives in Teacher Education

The aim of the conference was to bring together doctoral researchers from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Lower Silesia to share knowledge and practices in teacher education and school research. Our focus was on spanning the continuum of theoretical, methodological and practical knowledge and competencies of researchers from different contexts in order to develop deeper understanding of the realities and discourses of teacher education and school research in contemporary Europe.

The conference was a collaborative international venture that developed based on the European Doctorate in Teacher Education (EDiTE), a Horizon 2020 multinational EU project. The intention was to build on the established expertise and network and create the opportunity for a larger network of emerging researchers to think and work together in developing their projects in the European dimension. More

Wrocław, Poland, May 13-15, 2019


From April 5-9, 2019 the annual meeting of the largest North American research conference on education, AERA, took place in Toronto under this year’s theme Leveraging Education Research in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence. EDiTE researcher Josefine Wagner was present and participated in Division K’s conference seminar on Theorizing Teacher Education and Teacher Learningwhich was aimed at teacher educators exploring how theory and practice could be better intertwined when teaching teacher students. Before each session commenced many scholars acknowledged that this conference took place in the lands of indigenous people past and present and that they fought with them for a decolonized future. In a similar vein, EDiTE supervisory board member and vice-president of Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education), Kathy Schultz greeted her listeners when she gave the Vice-Presidential Address, entitled What Kind of Teacher Education Do We Need in These Turbulent Times?She drew on her recently published book on Distrust and Educational Change: Overcoming Barriers to Just and Lasting Reformto suggest five principles that might guide the work of teacher educators: 1) Begin with love and compassion, 2) Recognize teachers and students’ enormous capacities for learning, their dignities and histories, 3) Think queerly, 4) Expand who we count as teacher educators, and 5) Nurture teacher activism.

Another unique experience among many was a moving debate chaired by Alfredo Artilles on Contested Citizenship: Knowledge, Race and Politics within the Educational Context, during which critical education scholars Eve Tuck, Nolan L. Cabrera, Michael Apple, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Zeus Leonardo engaged in questions, such as: What does citizenship mean in the context of public policy seeking to provide narrow and racialized definitions of American citizens? and: What can schools do to challenge the hegemonic practices of citizens making reflected within the current political discourse?

“The purpose of the session was,” as organizer Anthony Brown summarized, “to deconstruct various notions of citizenship as they are taken up through the discourses of national identity, nationality, civil and human rights.”

Furthermore, Division G’s (Social Context of Education) award session was an extraordinary occasion to witness. Nominated by Thea Abu El-Haj, Ariana Mangual Figueroa, and Rosalie Rolon Dow, Pauline Lipman of the University of Illinois at Chicago (The New Political Economy of Urban Education) received the Henry T. Trueba Award for Research Leading to the Transformation of the Social Contexts of Education. With kind permission from Prof. Lipman, please enjoy her remarkable acceptance speech that EDiTE scholars should keep in their hearts and minds as they continue on their academic career paths.

“I want to use my couple of minutes to also trouble the idea of research changing the context of education. Or how research might contribute to that. […] I think that we need to approach our task with humility. So I want to reiterate what I think we know which is that scholars engaged in the context of education that that kind of scholarship is powerful when the voices of the researchers are in dialogue with parents, and teachers, and young people, and communities. In which our multiple knowledges, and epistemologies, and standpoints are brought together to try to understand the context of schooling and how we can transform not just schools but the society as a whole. […] What does it mean that we do research that contributes to the transformation of the social context, when in fact it is only through our collective knowledge that we develop that understanding in the first place. Our understanding of the social world and theorizing about it is rooted in social practice, and in particular, I think through participating in community and education struggles for justice. It is in the process of participating in them, through praxis that we come to more deeply understand our social realities. 

 I think research contributes to the transformation of the social context of education when it is linked to organizing through social movements.  We are contributing as researchers when we address the real questions of those who want “to move forward,” as Maisha Winn said, and when we work side by side, together, in ways that are empirically and theoretically useful to struggles for social justice, and in relation to the visions of developing social movements. And sometimes this means moving tables, and cleaning up afterwards, and taking care of children so that other people can speak. It’s social movements that change the world – not research. It is only when research is in collaboration with social movements, when it is taken up by social movements, that we transform our present conditions.  

I want to end by situating our work in the present moment. I want to say some of what I said on Friday in our symposium on Neoliberalism, race, and disability.  We are in a moment of immense suffering– economic, political, social suffering. But we are also in a moment in which racial neoliberal capitalism is reeling from multiple crises:  economic, social, political. Suffering and the crises of the system are in dialectical relationship. The legitimacy of the neoliberal order is in crisis globally. Although it seems hegemonic, it is actually in crisis. I want to draw on Stuart Hall here. Stuart Hall reminds us that although crises are moments of opportunity because they signal a rupture of the existing order, a rupture of the existing social conjuncture, the outcome of a crisis is not guaranteed. They could resolve in various ways. And that’s the moment that we are in. So on one side we have a resurgence of explicit, explicit because it has always been there but is now blatant and overt, white, nationalist, misogynist, pro-fascist right wing politics. And on the other side, and we need to recognize this, we see resistance and resurgence and a surfacing or a foregrounding of new visions from native water protectors, the Movement for Black Lives, teacher strikes that are not only against neoliberal education policies, they are against the gendered crisis of care, the crisis of social reproduction that Nancy Fraser  illuminates. We have the immigrant justice movement, feminist and climate justice movements, and more that are challenging hetero-patriarchy and racial capitalism and white supremacy. That’s the moment we are in. And, you know number 45, felt compelled to actually explicitly attack Socialism in his State of the Union address so that’s an indication of that moment and of the possibilities for social transformation.

I want to share an anecdote from Chicago as I end. We just had municipal elections, and there is a lot of talk about the mayoral election, but what you need to know about is the city council election. At the City Council level what happened is that grassroots people who have been on the frontlines, many of them have been fighting for education justice and against racist neoliberal policies, were elected to the City Council of Chicago. If you know anything about Chicago, you know it has a long history of entrenched Democratic Party machine politics controlling every aspect of city government, so this is astounding. One of the newly elected City Council representatives is Jeanette Taylor. Jeanette was a Dyett High School hunger striker. She has been on her local school council for 23 years, she is a mother and a grandmother. She is a grassroots person who rose up because her school was being closed and became a leader in the education movement in Chicago, and she was just elected to the City Council in Chicago. That is actually very, very significant and an indication of the possibilities of the moment that we are in. It is definitely a potent marker of the crisis of legitimacy of the racial neoliberal order in Chicago. So this is a moment to engage in struggles for a different future, for us to play some small role by joining our research with social movements.

I want to close with a question that was posed by scholar-activist Andrea Smith. She asked: “Why should academics be any less responsible for taking part in activist work than florists, garbage collectors and bee keepers?”



Prof. Pauline Lipman

The next AERA annual meetingwill take place in San Francisco from April 17-21, 2020, under the guiding theme: The Power and Possibilities for the Public Good: When Researchers and Organizational Stakeholders Collaborate. The call for submissions starts on May 10, 2019.





Celebrating the Success of the European Doctorate in Teacher Education (EDiTE – Horizon 2020, MCS ITN Actions) through International Doctoral Defenses.

On March 14 and 19, the University of Lower Silesia hosted two high-profile international events – the doctoral defenses of Marie Curie Skłodowska Research Fellows and doctoral researchers Josefine Wagner (Germany) and Tamas Toth (Hungary). Josefine Wagner and Tamas Toth were participants in the prestigious EU-funded Horizon 2020 European Union Doctorate in Teacher Education (EDiTE) and for three years they pursued their doctoral research in the community of EDiTE researchers at the University of Lower Silesia, Lucie Bucharova and Monika Rusnak (who also submitted their dissertation and will defend in the nearest future), Agnieszka Licznerska, Ewa Stoecker, Beata Telatynska and Beata Zwierzynska.

In their transnational ethnographic research projects, Josefine Wagner and Tamas Toth focused on exploring how European schools grapple with social justice and inclusion. Wagner’s dissertation entitled, Struggling for Educational Justice in Disabling Societies: A Multi-Sited School-Based Ethnography on Inclusive Policies and Practices in Poland, Austria, and Germany, is a qualitative ethnographic portrait of how schools in Germany, Austria and Poland cope with EU policy on educational inclusion. Her dissertation was supervised by Prof. DSW dr hab. Hana Cervinkova of ULS and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mag Michael Schratz of the University of Innsbruck who is also the founder of EDiTE, while Prof. Cervinkova is the national coordinator of EDiTE for Poland. The dissertation defense on March 14 was also attended by the assistant supervisor, the educational and Holocaust scholar, Dr. Juliet Golden (USA) and the reviewers, Prof. Graciela Slesaransky Poe of Arcadia University (USA) and Prof. dr hab. Zenon Gajdzica of the University of Silesia who both submitted that her dissertation be awarded with distinction.

On March 19, Tamas Toth defended his work, Crossing the Threshold in the Margins: From the Critique of Ideology Towards Emancipatory Practices, a theoretically sophisticated ethnographic study inspired by the educational exclusion of the Roma community in Central Europe, writtenunder the supervisor Prof. DSW dr hab. Lotar Rasinski and co-supervisor Dr. hab György Meszaros of ELTE University in Budapest. His reviewers – Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Szkudlarek of the University of Gdansk and Prof. Eva Szabolcs of ELTE University in Budapest both asked for his dissertation to be awarded with distinction. On the same day, the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Education of ULS awarded doctoral degrees and bestowed distinctions on both Josefine Wagner and Tamas Toth. As a part of the EDiTE co-tutelle agreements, Dr. Wagner will also receive a doctoral degree from the University of Innsbruck and Dr. Toth from the ELTE University.

EDiTE at MCAA Conference and General Assembly


As part of the larger family of Marie Curie Actions under Horizon 2020 programme, each year EDiTE is invited to participate at Marie Curie Alumni Association’s (MCAA) General Assembly and Annual Conference. The location differs from year to year as hosts volunteer among the acting members of MCAA, and this year the event took place in Austria hosted by the University of Vienna. In the magnificent setting of tall old pillars, decorated ceilings  and lavish halls of the University that was founded 1365, the programme included a diversity of speakers and incorporating topics most current to research today.

Among the parallel sessions the participants could learn about research abilities, career paths, workplace harassment, mental health issues, entrepreneurship, as well as discuss concerns related to open science, issues and possibilities of supporting research mobility through programmes and deliberate upon ideas of science diplomacy. There were several sessions that focused on practicalities of funding for research and how to apply to different possibilities as postdocs or lead researchers, as well as how to finance networking, conferences and academic working groups. From EDiTE community, Helena Kovacs and Ezra Howard had the chance to participate and listen to the input as well as collect as much of valuable information for the rest of the network.

If interested to glance at the full programme, speakers or other relevant information about the event, please have a look at the MCAA official website and its section on the General Assembly and Annual Conference. Next year the event will take place in Zagreb, Croatia and as alumni, EDiTE researchers will be still able to participate.



The first researchers of the EDiTE network were contracted starting on March 2016, and back then, the envisaged end seemed far away embroidered with opportunities, exciting tasks and learning. After three years of path-taking and path-making, EDiTE held its final conference under the title Transformative teacher learning for better student learning within an emerging European context in Lisbon, Portugal, hosted by the University of Lisbon, between 18-20 February.

The overall theme of the conference drew on the interdependence of educational research and practice offered throughout the EDiTE programme and exploited the notions and ambitions of becoming the leading European network for innovation in teacher education, accessible to academics, practitioners and policy makers. The three pillars, teacher learning, student learning and the European context, were explored on different levels and through different perspectives, looking at it from wide range of approaches taken by the EDiTE researchers in their studies, but also from the approaches of practicing teachers that attended the conference.

The first day started with a keynote given by Professor António Nóvoa, a full Professor and the Honorary Rector of the University of Lisbon. His speech On becoming a teacher, on strengthening the profession critically reflected the current state of play in teaching as profession and provided an interesting input for further discussion. The novel elements of creating a “third space” that sits between schools and universities as places of teacher professionalism inspired a fruitful debate and was a point of reference for the rest of the conference. The stimulating discussion continued with an interactive round table on Policy and Teacher Education depicting views from Manuel Miguéns from the National Education Council, Gábor Halász from ELTE University and Vasilis Symeonidis, an EDiTE researcher from University of Innsbruck. The afternoon continued to feed on interesting conversations through parallel sessions in which some EDiTE researchers presented their doctoral studies. The last part of the first day was dedicated to practical sessions called Reflective circles– interactive spaces where research and practice meet, and where concepts get re-discovered, collectively analysed and re-constructed. One such session was facilitated by Wiktor Bernad and Wanderson Alexander Oliviera in Portuguese and the other was in English, facilitated by Helena Kovacs.

The second day brought an inspiring keynote on Practitioner Research as Brave Research: Towards Inclusive and Diverse Inquirygiven by Dr. Anja Swennen of Vrije University Amsterdam. The discussions continued with a rich interactive round table about Diversity, inclusion and equity featuring Helena Salema from Univeristy of Lisbon, David Rodrigues, the president of Pro-Inclusion and Josefine Wagner, an EDiTE researcher from the University of Lower Silesia. The afternoon of the second day offered a changed perspective and took place in a physical setting of the EDiTE partner school Escola Sec. Pe. António Vieira, Alvalade where a panel of school teachers and principals presented their work. This prompted a discussion on school-university partnership which spanned into the last session of the day facilitated by the team from ELTE Budapest.

Arriving to the third day, Maria Assunção Flores, a professor at the University of Minho, opened the debates with her keynote Teacher Education and Professionalism in the Digital Era: What’s New? The proposed question was further looked at from different aspects of the interactive round table involving Christina Kraler from University of Innsbruck, Petr Novotny from Masaryk University and Mariana Feio, a PhD in Teacher Education. In the afternoon, the conversations again became diversified and split into smaller parallel sessions where the rest of the EDiTE researchers presented their doctoral studies. The conference and the third day were closed by a final session on EDiTE 2.0: Emerging Futurescircling initial ideas proposed through a position paper prepared by Anja Swennen, Michael Schratz and Vasilis Symeonidis. The input from small group discussions inspired further thinking of the future of the EDiTE network, its potential transformation and growth.

While the conference in Lisbon was indeed a crowning event for the EDiTE network, the work does not end here. There is still plenty of interesting PhD studies to be finalised in the next few months, and we can anticipate an online seminar in late Spring that will further the academic discussions on teacher learning and give ground to continuous conversation about where is EDiTE heading next.

Photos by Wiktor Bernad

EDiTE @ 117th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association

From November 14 -18, EDiTE researcher Josefine Wagner attended the 117thannual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Jose, California.  Ethnographers from around the globe meet here to discuss their discipline, present cutting-edge research, and commit to the goal of telling the counter-narrative. This year, the AAA’s forum on educational ethnography, the Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE) organized an early scholar poster session in which Josefine was able to participate. Drawing on the EDiTE network, ELTE researcher Helena Kovacs provided critical feedback and valuable ideas on input and design. Among early scholars from Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S., Josefine presented her doctoral dissertation work under the title “The Limits of Educational Justice: A Multi-Sited School-based Ethnography of Inclusive Policy and Practices in Poland, Austria, and Germany.” Thanks to the fluctuating audience, the poster session turned out to be the perfect opportunity to practice a 2-minute talk on three years of cross-country, primary school research.

One of the highlights for education scholars was CAE’s president’s distinguished lecture that Thea R. Abu El-Haj gave. Matching the EDiTE framework of Transformative Teacher Learning for Better Student Learning within an Emerging European Context, Abu El-Haj reminded the audience that “learning is social, education is political, and as such education is always potentially transformative.” Inspirationally, she laid out the foundations of educational anthropology, as well as the tools and the aspirations of the discipline:

I insist on the power of our discipline and our methodological stance to unearth the imperial architecture that continuously tries to remain buried underneath the everyday practices of education. Staying close to the ground, observing carefully the practices of everyday lives, we track the ways that these historical ruinations are embedded in, taken up, reshaped, and sometimes blown apart in particular global contexts.

EDiTE @ Falling Walls Lab 2018, Wrocław

Beata Zwierzyńska, EDiTE researcher, participated in the Falling Walls Lab 2018, Wrocław. Falling Walls Lab is an international event commemorating the Fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall through the promotion of science and innovation. The winners of the local events take part in the finals in Berlin and present their project in 3 minutes long speeches. The researcher can apply in any location convenient but the rules limit the performance to one time only. The most represented fields are hard sciences as the 2018 winners’ list shows. Therefore, there is still a space for humanities and social sciences to fill in!

If you are interested in participating in the 2019 edition, here is an example of Beata’s 3-minute speech based on one of her research projects and PPT presentation to download:

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Internationally, there has been interest in school democratization, but only few countries actually achieve that. Intellectuals, practitioners, and activists all over the world are critical of educational reforms and the resistance of schools to theoretical, practical and political attempts of school democratization: in Poland 30 years after Round Table Talks on education, schools still struggle to be democratic spaces

Why do we need democratized education? We need it especially now: when 30 years after breaking the walls of communism in Europe, we are experiencing a shift towards authoritarianism, racism, homophobia, and hate. Young eastern democracies but also old ones are experiencing democratic crisis. Solidarity has changed into barbed-wires and new walls; rational debate gave place to fake news. Schools became a fertile soil for propaganda instead being a vaccine for it. Teachers are silenced and schools monopolized by ruling parties. The crisis now is therefore not only political but also educational.

What is the solution?

Education for democracy prepares people for democratic values like freedom, trust, participation, and more. The difficulty in achieving fully democratized schools is traced to teachers’ disempowerment and lack of emancipatory competences. Teachers can make the console “sliders” go up to build civil society, teach respect and debate. Mandela’s words are still true that “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”. Are teachers able to do it?

Is it possible to prepare teachers for democracy at school if they are products of a system? How can teachers implement fully democratized and pluralistic model of education if they don’t experience autonomy and freedom? These are old questions in Poland.

One of the ways to help teachers to change is through action research. In collaboration with teachers from a large FB group, we selected a problem, designed and implemented a plan and reflected on it. Teachers organized a grassroot event with workshops, panel discussion and more. It created emancipatory experience for them to become more autonomous and empowered. EMANCIPATED TEACHERS are foundation for DEMOCRATIZED SCHOOLS which is a basis for DEMOCRATIC AND HUMANISTIC SOCIETY


Author and presenter: Beata Zwierzyńska

Falling Walls Lab, Wrocław 2018

European Doctorate in Teacher Education

University of Lower Silesia, Masaryk University


EDiTE at ONK 2018

XVIII National Conference on Education (ONK) is the biggest conference on educational research in Hungary and this year ELTE Faulty of Education and Psychology had the role of being the host of the conference. As such, members of the EDiTE network took the opportunity to participate in different roles, as well as present their research. The event took place between 8 and 10 November in Budapest.

Most of the conference was delivered in Hungarian although there were several important parts in English, such as two keynote speeches during the first two days. The first day Markku Niemivirta from University of Helsinki and University of Oslo has talked about students’ achievement, motivation and success through his keynote titled Striving for achievement – A double-edge sword?During the second day, keynote was given by Meg Maguire from King’s Collage, London about educational values in the UK and how they affect the key participants such as teachers and students. Both of these keynotes are available through video stream here.

The programme provided a vast diversity of topics through parallel sessions, symposia and poster presentations. Helena Kovacs, one of the EDiTE researchers, gave a presentation based on her research entitled The importance of school innovation for teacher learningand raised some interesting discussion among the audience. Csilla Pesti, another of ELTE EDiTE researchers participated in a different role this time, delivering logistical support as a leader of the volunteers that assisted throughout the event and ensuring the smooth running of the entire conference.


Open House Day at the University of Innsbruck

Last Wednesday, the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Innsbruck opened its doors to students and people interested to learn more about the research conducted at the department. EDiTE was there with researchers Vasilis Symeonidis and Malte Gregorzewski, as well as project manager Maiko Stürz, who presented the main ideas of the project and their own contributions.

The audience learned about the origins of the project, its development and impact, as well as future plans to expand the network. In the discussions that followed the presentation, students asked about the opportunity of undertaking such an international doctorate and expressed an interest to stay tuned with future developments!