Erin Blakely graduated with a B.A. from the University of Michigan, before moving to New York and working at an independent school for elementary and middle school students with learning differences. She earned her master’s degree in education at San Francisco State University, where she later taught research methodologies in the Graduate College of Education. For her thesis, she conducted an ethnography on the normalization of narrative form in a diasporic community in Northern California. She spent the next decade coordinating action research projects, designing family leadership and English Language Learning programs for PreK-8 public schools, and facilitating county-wide equity initiatives. She subsequently did postgraduate work in Denmark. Her research interests include critical theory, cultural studies, pragmatism, social practice theory, history of the family, language socialization, narrative, and research design. She now lives in southern California, working in higher education, writing, and making mixed media collages.
Books by Erin Blakely:
Opening Third Spaces for Research in Education challenges dominant educational research methods. It rejects the reductive binaries normalized in social science research—theory/practice, objective/subjective, quantitative/qualitative. Drawing from multiple fields and eras, the book opens third spaces between these artificial poles to help researchers expand interpretations and possibilities for research. Critiquing the current focus on the measurement of “student learning outcomes” and high-stakes assessment, the book offers conceptual tools and case examples to support educators in reconceptualizing research. The book critiques the modernist notion that learning is an individual mental process of acquiring knowledge or skills. It argues instead that learning is inextricably entangled with social relations and cannot be isolated or controlled no matter how scientifically rigorous researchers try to be in their study designs. This challenges the current goal of educational research instruction to design “valid and reliable” studies that provide evidence for “best practices,” and reimagines it as opening third spaces to expand opportunities and approaches for inquiry.
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