Alumni, Uncategorized

Profile: Amy Ballin

Amy Ballin
Individually Designed Specialization

Degree Conferral: Nov, 2011

What is the title of your dissertation, and the focus of your dissertation research?

The title of my dissertation is: The Quest for a Meaningful “Special Education:”The Educational Journeys of Nine Students with Learning Disabilities from an Inaccessible Learning Environment to One that Enabled Them to Learn.

This ethnographic case study follows the educational journeys of nine students with learning disabilities who with luck and parental advocacy attend a school designed to address their disability. The researcher explores the role of cultures, both within and outside the school, and examines some of the effects of the social construction of special education on student learning. This study draws no conclusions regarding the connections between the cultures at the school and the student’s success. However, it does highlight the perspective of students, parents, and teachers, noting the ways in which they describe how and why this school environment allowed the student access to an education.

How have your research interests grown/developed/changed along your doctoral study path? 

School culture was always an interest of mine but it took some time to develop the approach of following student’s educational journey’s as an avenue into school culture.  This approach also led to the inequities within special education which became another focus of this research.

Professional accomplishments:

What are your personal and professional “post-PhD” hopes or goals?

I hope to turn my dissertation into a book and to continue my work around equity in education.

Has a particular book, author or thinker inspired your educational thinking?

The Myth of the Normal Curve, edited by Dudley-Marling and Gurn



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