Elliot Eisner SIG 177
SIG Purpose

Elliot Eisner_WEB

The purposes of the Elliot Eisner SIG are to:

  • promote scholarship that applies, extends, critiques, and reinvents Eisner's scholarly contributions and core principles towards the overarching aim of school improvement
  • act as a catalyst for the development, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum built upon the foundation that Eisner established
  • provide the opportunity to continue conceptualizing and improving educational criticism and connoisseurship in contemporary educational settings
  • encourage new forms of evaluation based on Eisner's ideas
  • examine ways to conceptualize education (formal and informal) from arts-based perspectives
  • foster discourse that challenges, champions, and reconceptualizes Eisnerian thought
  • mentor emerging scholars of curriculum, school evaluation, qualitative research, the arts, and school reform
News & Announcements

AERA 2020 Call for Proposals: "Imaginative Possibilities for Educational Improvement"

Deadline: July 10, 2019

Imaginative Possibilities for Educational Improvement

Call for Proposals

AERA Elliot Eisner SIG

San Francisco, CA, April 17-21

Proposal Deadline: July 10

SIG Chair: Dr. Christy McConnell Moroye, University of Northern Colorado

Program Chair: Dr. Bradley Conrad, Capital University

The AERA 2020 theme, “The Power and Possibilities for the Public Good When Researchers and Organizational Stakeholders Collaborate” calls for “deliberate reconnection.” The Elliot Eisner SIG stands ready not only to respond, but also to lead the way for such a task. Eisner purposely calls for research that positively influences the experiences of those in schools: “My ultimate aim…is to contribute to the improvement of education…I do not believe that improvement of our schools is likely if we distance ourselves from their problems or their achievements. Detachment and distance are not virtues when one wants to improve complex social organizations or so delicate a performance as teaching” (2017, p. 2).

With this broad aim in mind, Eisner argues for the methodology of educational connoisseurship and criticism, which he designed to highlight subtleties and qualities of the educational experience that may otherwise go unseen. Such qualities can be evaluated for their significance to particular stakeholders and for education in general. We invite and encourage proposals on all topics explored through Eisner’s methodology. How can criticism in the form of appreciation and evaluation bring about the kinds of inclusive schools we need for all kids?

In addition to a specific research method aimed at educational improvement, Eisner provided various meaningful ways to evaluate and appreciate educational and curricular endeavors. His ecology of schooling, for example, helps us see the connectedness and responsiveness among various dimensions of schooling; a change in evaluation precipitates a change in pedagogy. As the AERA call suggests, then, a change in collaboration with the school community precipitates a change in the other elements of schooling. What are the imaginative possibilities when the school walls become permeable and diverse communities and students are integrated?

As suggested by the AERA theme, those of us in education must also imagine new ways to communicate with all stakeholders. Eisner specifically called upon us to engage with and to develop cognitive pluralism—to know the world and to represent our understandings in many ways. How might multiple forms of representation contribute to the aim of collaboration and relevance of theory for practice?

Now in its fifth year, the Eisner SIG has been dedicated to joining theory and practice. Indeed, our inciting purpose was to “act as a catalyst for the development, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum built upon the foundation that Eisner established.” While our foundation is rooted in Eisner’s scholarship, we invite associated critiques, applications, and implications that extend, challenge, and promote his scholarship. One need not be an Eisnerian to contribute to such goals. Rather, we encourage those inspired by his work and life to help us all imagine new possibilities for schooling and education.  What new forms of qualitative inquiry might be inspired? What ways might arts-integration promote deeper cultural understanding in school communities? How might a pedagogy that promotes idiosyncrasy be an antidote to the factory model of education?  Help us reimagine the ways in which Eisner’s body of work can be expanded, challenged, refined, and reinvented toward the aims of partnership, engaged scholarship, and vibrant schooling for all students and teachers.

Finally, in the Eisnerian tradition of strong mentorship (see Shubert, Lopez-Schubert, Herzog, Posner, and Kridel, 1988), we encourage proposals by seasoned scholars as well as early career professors and graduate students. Our welcoming sessions provide rigorous yet supportive discussion and encourage a multiplicity of understandings, approaches, and applications of theory and practice.

The Eisner SIG invites and encourages proposals using a variety of conceptual and research approaches from all areas of AERA—teaching, curriculum studies, the arts, research and evaluation, assessment, critical perspectives, policy, philosophy, and others. Join us for a vibrant community of change-makers together imagining possibilities for educational improvement.


2020 Annual Meeting Theme. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aera.net/Events-


Eisner, E. W. (2017). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of

educational practice. New York: Teachers College Press. (Original work published in 1991)

Schubert, W. H., Lopez-Schubert, A. L., Herzog, L. A., Posner, G.  J., & Kridel, C. (1988).  A


genealogy of curriculum researchers.  The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 8(1), 137-183.


Contact Us


EMAIL US | eisnersig@gmail.com
LIKE US | facebook.com/Eisner SIG


“The ultimate aim of education is to enable individuals to become the architects of their own education and through that process to continually reinvent themselves.”

-Elliot W. Eisner 

Please renew your Elliot Eisner SIG membership today! We also welcome all who are interested in joining the SIG to support Dr. Eisner's legacy of educational evaluation, research, and inquiry. Please click on the "Join/Renew" link at the top of this page. For those desiring to learn more about Dr. Eisner's scholarship, please click on "Eisner's Contributions" on the left sidebar of this page. 

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