Susan Wharton Conkling is Professor of Music, Music Education at Boston University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting, choral methods, and research methods, and she advises doctoral research. As a teacher and scholar, Conkling has led efforts to develop a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the field of music, beginning with her recognition as a Carnegie Foundation Fellow in 1999. She is also well known for the creation and implementation of professional development partnerships between public schools and collegiate schools of music. Her book, Envisioning Music Teacher Education was published in 2015, and she has contributed chapters to several other volumes, as well as publishing in several peer-reviewed journals. As a conductor, Conkling is known as an advocate for Women’s Choirs and contemporary women composers, and she has conducted honor choir performances throughout the United States.
What If Dewey Won?
In 2002, Lagemann proposed that education research could be characterized as a debate between John Dewey’s conception of education studies and Edward Thorndike’s conception of educational psychology—a debate that Thorndike eventually won. The initial dispute never completely left the field of education, and it has reappeared since the beginning of the 20th century as a kind of scientism—nowhere more forcefully than in the mandate for evidence-based practice in the wake of No Child Left Behind. For this provocation, I propose to engage in a thought experiment: What if Dewey had won? I want to examine how Dewey’s pragmatism offers a framework for re-imagining the hierarchical relationship between scholars and teachers.