Teacher's Work/Teachers Unions SIG 127
Teacher's Work/Teachers Unions SIG 127
SIG Purpose
To provide a forum for critical research, dialogue, and collaboration about teachers’ work and teachers unions.

What is mission and/or purpose?
As members of Teachers' Work/Teachers Unions we aim to: (i) promote multi-disciplinary research of teachers’ work and teachers’ unions in both historical and contemporary contexts; (ii) provide a forum for sharing research related to teachers’ work and teachers’ unions; (iii)  to support, promote, and advocate for the role of teachers and teachers unions in democratic societies, globally and locally.

Who are we?
We are a global network of teachers, teacher unionists, educational researchers, and activists. Members are concerned with K-12, higher education, and adult or informal education as well. We are a smaller community within AERA, open to mentoring and supporting each other's research and activism.

Why not join us?
We believe there is no other organization or network in the USA that brings together scholars and researchers interested in developing, promoting and sharing research of teachers’ work and teachers unions. Teachers and university academics, unionists and activists, are all involved in the SIG. If you have an interest in the organization and are eager to find a "home" within AERA, join us! Become a member today!

How can and do members get involved?
By joining the AERA SIG, Teachers' work/teachers unions, you become a voting member. You are the driving force behind elections of officers, the terms they serve, and agenda setting for the SIG.

Want to be more involved?
Run for one of three elected offices: Chair, Program Chair, and Secretary/Treasurer. You can run for elected offices with a co-collaborator too.

The SIG has an annual Outstanding Student Paper Award. The award is organized by an Award Chair. Step forward and let us know you wish to serve! It is a great way to read cutting edge research from the field and from around the world.

Each year, the SIG fields a call for papers or presentations to be presented at the AERA annual conference. Send in session or panel ideas! Send in papers and poster proposals! The more proposals to the SIG, the more opportunities our members have to present work from the field of Teachers' work and teachers unions.

We need reviewers, session chairs, and discussants too. Again, a great way to read/hear/speak to cutting edge research from the field and from our global network of members.

How can you stay involved?
Members are encouraged to share publications, work and award opportunities, calls for action, and calls for future publications or conference presentations related to teachers' work and teachers unions.
Message from SIG Chair
I attended AERA for years, presenting papers, listening to panels, looking in on events planned by various groups. Yet AERA is enormous! Why was I attending? What was I really taking away from my experience? I was not sure. Then, I attended a panel, chaired by Lois Weiner, for the Teachers' Work/Teachers Union Special Interest Group (SIG). I approached her and others who I soon learned were responsible for founding the SIG as a site for critical discussions centered on the impact of global and neoliberal education reform on teachers' work and their unions.

I went to more panels and roundtables organized by the SIG that year and found I could speak, I was heard, and I could engage in a dialogue about issues concerning the transformation of teaching as a profession, as work. I learned from teacher union researchers about on-going projects examining -- from teachers' perspectives -- what supports and lack thereof were needed to improve the education of all children in their classrooms. I learned that there are SIG Business meetings! Membership can and should be asked to dialogue and reach consensus or vote on how to create a more vibrant, participatory, and democratic collaborative. And members can have fun too. John Williamson, former chair, did not exaggerate when he wrote:  "The SIG provides a welcoming and hospitable environment for researchers to discuss all issues relating to teachers' work and teacher unions."

On behalf of the members of the Teachers' Work/Teachers Unions Special Interest Group, I welcome you to join us! Participate! Make the most of your AERA experience. And find a home for your research, teaching, and activist concerns with teachers' work and their unions. Details for getting involved are listed on this Web site, found on our Facebook page, and can be sent to you via email: saraharobert@gmail.com

In solidarity, sar (Feb.2015)


* This award is currently under review for official recognition with AERA national.  

Award Description
The members of the Special Interest Group (SIG), Teachers’ work/Teachers Unions, aim to recognize doctoral-level or master-level research that focuses on teachers’ work and/or teachers unions in historical or contemporary context. Areas of interest include teachers’ labor processes, teacher unions, organised teacher activism, labor relations in schools and universities, teachers’ professional learning, particularly where linked to teacher union initiatives. (This list is intended to be indicative but not prescriptive.) It should also be reiterated that the SIG’s interests cover all phases of education (pre-school through to higher and adult education).

The winner is awarded $200, which may be applied toward the cost of attending the AERA conference; a mentor drawn from the SIG membership to support publication in an appropriate journal; and, an AERA Certificate of Award presented at the SIG Annual Business Meeting. The award winner is encouraged to submit a paper based on the work to the SIG program the year following the award.

Rationale for Establishing the Award
Established in 2013, the rationale for the award was to encourage and recognize emerging scholars in the field of teachers’ work or teachers’ unions; bring exemplary new research to the attention of the global network of Teachers’ Work/Teachers Unions members; and, to encourage emerging scholars’ participation in the SIG.

  • 2013 Award Winner: Fiona King, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin (current/2015), Doctoral Dissertation (EdD), University of Lincoln: Developing and sustaining teachers’ professional learning: A case study of collaborative professional development

  • 2014 Award Winner:  Jeff Roy Garsed, Australian Education Union (AEU, current/2015), Doctoral Dissertation (PhD), University of Tasmania: Teachers’ work in a time of major curriculum change.
  • 2015 Award Winner: Heidi K. Pitzer, Syracuse University, Doctoral Dissertation (PhD), Syracuse University: Deficit Discourse, Urban Teachers' Work, and the Blame Game

Eligibility Requirements
  • Nominees must have successfully defended their dissertation or thesis the year prior to the award
  •  Recipient may choose to serve on the Award Committee the year following the award

Submission Requirements

  • A completed nomination form (see below). Candidates are strongly encouraged to include a supporting statement (500 words max) provided by someone with good knowledge of the work. This is likely to be the proposer, supervisor, or examiner. (Self-nominations are acceptable.)
  • Confirmation from dissertation or thesis supervisor or from degree-granting university that indicates the completion date of the dissertation or thesis
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A one-page dissertation or thesis abstract (double spaced, .pdf format)
  • The dissertation or thesis (double spaced, .pdf format)
  • The applicant must remove all identifiable references to individuals, institutions and, places in the one-page abstract and synopsis for blind review
  • Finalists may be required to submit their full dissertation or thesis after the first round of adjudication

Selection Criteria
  • Definition of the problem or question is clearly articulated
  • Rationale for the study is persuasive
  • Research approach is appropriate for the problem and rationale
  • Findings are well established and articulated
  • Conclusion(s) or interpretation(s) are grounded in the data
  • Contribution to the field of Teachers’ Work and/or Teachers Unions

Nomination-to-award Timeline
  • Deadline for Submissions: December 
  • Winner Notification/Confirmation: February
  • Decision announced to members via Teachers’ work / Teachers Unions’ email listserv, posted to the SIG Facebook page, and through AERA award notification SIG Annual Business Meeting within 48 hours of winner confirmation. 

2015 Award Committee Members
  • Dr. Howard Stevenson, University of Nottingham (UK), Award Committee Chair
  • Dr. Sarah A. Robert, University at Buffalo (USA), acting SIG chair
  • Dr. Christine Gardner, University of Tasmania (AUS), previous SIG chair
  • Dr. Fiona King, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin (IE), former Award winner

Who We Are
Profile of Teacher's Work Teachers Union SIG #127 Members
SIG Officers


Structure & Government
Key Initiatives