UIC News Profiles LSRI Co-Director James Pellegrino

UIC News has posted an in-depth profile of James Pellegrino, co-director of the UIC Learning Sciences Research Institute and LAS distinguished professor of psychology.  

The article relates, in part, “Institutes like LSRI serve to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to work on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects that might not otherwise get envisioned and pursued by faculty working in separate departments and colleges,” Pellegrino said. “It serves as a catalyst for such collaborations.”

The learning sciences institute is home to more than 130 staff, students, faculty and researchers in the learning sciences field. “The focus is as much on teachers learning as on students learning,” said Pellegrino.

“We look at what it takes for a teacher to effectively teach mathematics, for example — and what it takes for them to learn new practices and teach in line with Common Core (state) standards.”

The institute doesn’t just do general research on learning, but homes in on specific areas like math, chemistry or one of the social sciences, Pellegrino said.

“The work we do is on everything from the elementary grades to post-secondary,” he said.

The learning institute brings together faculty from multiple disciplines. “My appointment is 75 percent psychology and 25 percent curriculum and instruction,” Pellegrino said.

Others, for example, have joint faculty appointments in both learning sciences and chemistry or computer science. “We have 14 faculty with various different academic affiliations who are involved in learning sciences,” he said.

For the National Research Council of the National Academies, Pellegrino was a member of the Committee on Defining Deeper Learning for 21st Century Skills. He co-edited a report on its findings.

“We tried to figure out what was meant by ‘deeper learning’ and ‘21st century skills,’” he said. “What does the research base tell us? Is there evidence that they matter in the workplace and adult life?”

The committee concluded that deeper learning produces transfer — “it allows you to use your knowledge in real situations,” he said.

The full profile can be read via this link.

Source: UIC News’ Gary Wisby