Call for Papers


Science Education at the Crossroads 2017

San Antonio, Texas

April 25-26, 2017

Key details:

Proposal deadline: September 30, 2016
Acceptances (no later than): October 30, 2016
Final Revisions for Proceedings due: March 25, 2016

Crossroads begins: April 25, 2017
(between other meetings hosted in San Antonio)

Submit papers to:

Focus for 2017:
Ambitious Science Teacher Preparation

Situated as it is between two international educational research conferences, Crossroads is somewhat of a bridge between worlds. Similarly, preparing and supporting science teachers positions the university science educators as the bridge between theory and practice, between ambitions and realities. Maybe you’re on a shaky footbridge across a deep chasm. Or you feel as if you’re frantically shuttling back and forth on a viaduct separating the sanctity of an academic campus and the dynamic world of secondary science teaching. Perhaps there are viaducts that need to be built. Or a “bridge over troubled water” or poem such as Whitman’s Leaves of Grass:

I am curious to know where my feet stand—and what this is flooding me, childhood or manhood—and the hunger that crosses the bridge between.

We encourage you to let the creative juices flow as you consider infusing a bridge or similar crossing metaphor into your Vexation and Venture.

Using the bridge metaphor, the theme of the 2017 Crossroads conference is a call to examine the various issues regarding preparing science teachers to engage in an ambitious vision of teaching and learning in diverse K-12 classrooms. This theme asks us to consider our simultaneous roles as researchers and teacher educators. Standing on the bridge between research and pedagogy allows us to see problems of practice that may be invisible to others. We name four such problems here. First, there is little consensus about a vision and language that describe desirable science teaching. Therefore, teacher educators do not have ways to talk across programs about preparation for diverse classrooms. Second, ambitious forms of instruction require teacher educators to reimagine the practices and pedagogy they employ when working with preservice teachers across institutional and local contexts. The reimagining of new practices and pedagogies of teacher preparation call for robust theories of learning that guide teacher educators’ pedagogical decisions. It also calls for reframing clinical experiences at schools in relation to the pedagogical activities at the university. Third, remaking teacher preparation around ambitious forms of teaching require resources and tools that teacher educators leverage to create learning opportunities for preservice teachers. Fourth, teacher educators need to reimagine the evidence they need to collect to make claims about the learning of teachers and K-12 students.  In other words, unless we can identify innovative methodologies and compelling evidence then the current push to advance the quality of science teacher preparation will suffer from an inadequate empirical base.

Txingsignhe Call for Proposals:

Science Education at the Crossroads is a working conference designed to explicitly address problems and pursuits in the field of science education. Rather than having people share work they have finished, presenters at Crossroads describe their sources of concern and their own efforts to resolve those within their practices. Each attendee of the Crossroads Conference is a presenter/participant during the Incubator sessions, which are in turn based upon a Vexation and Venture format.

To address tensions and progressions in science teacher preparation and ambitious instruction, we are seeking submissions that will prompt discussions, challenge ideas, and press us to advance the work of teacher preparation. Invitees are to submit a paper proposal by Saturday, September 30, 2016 as an email attachment to Early submissions are welcome and encouraged as well. Accepted work will receive substantive feedback (no later than October 30) from the conference organizers about modifying your writing to make it accessible, meaningful, and generative to a wider audience. Your revised paper will appear in the Proceedings posted to the conference website and provided for the conference itself. Your proposal must contain the following components:

What is it that “vexes” you about some aspect of your work within the realm of science teacher education and ambitious instruction? Beyond simply venting, carefully explain the source of your frustration, the reason the issue is so troublesome, and the implications of this vexation if left unresolved. Many different possibilities exist, as is evident from previous years’ proceedings. The key is to describe your vexation so others can understand and engage in the problem you are considering.

Your venture describes a course of action you might initiate to resolve, diminish, conquer, or overcome your vexation. It is not expected that you have yet begun your venture. Instead, we envision that you are approaching a crossroads where a decision must be made about an appropriate venture for your vexation. By identifying potential ventures you provide an entry point for others to confer with you. Describe the ventures, large or small, that seem candidates for you in order to push past your vexation.

Proposal Submission
Your proposal is to approach 1500 words in length. (Any citations will be collected into an appendix in the Proceedings, so only the inline citations will be included in this word count.) The two headings for your proposal are “Vexation” and “Venture” and should be submitted within a single document in which you plainly describe the two components. A conversational tone will help you introduce the work in a manner that will promote further discussion. Your submission should be made electronically as a Word attachment to on or before the deadline.

The final version of your paper should be submitted no later than the last Saturday in March. The format remains the same as for your proposal: a vexation and venture of approximately 1500 words. We will post your paper to the Crossroads conference website as well as provide copies in advance within the Proceedings. Your Vexation and Venture is something that is shared with the larger group. By making these personal views available to others you create a space for advancing your understandings by inviting others to confer with you. For some participants, the Proceedings might be a sufficient outlet for resolving vexations and advancing ventures. However, we anticipate that for many, what arises from your Incubator session will provide clarity about your next steps.

For more information, feel free to contact the conference organizers or peruse our online forum and news.

A Call for Invitations:

Science Education at the Crossroads benefits from diverse voices, ideas, and projects. Additionally, we also benefit from having a tight-knit community of critical yet encouraging others. It’s not too difficult to be one or the other of these, but we have to make deliberate efforts to be both at the same time.

We especially ask those of you who have participated in Crossroads in the past to help with this. Knowing the way the meeting works and the importance of having those diverse voices at the table, we’re asking our more veteran attendees to nominate others we can reach out to and invite to the meeting. We are especially interested in those who are relatively junior or otherwise on the fringe; and we’re doubly interested in those who can expand our breadth of expertise: engineering, math, or even those in the humanities and arts who can help us bridge science education with other fields.  If you know these people and they’d be a polite dinner guest at the gathering, please invite them. Drop us a line at if you’d like us to help you reach out to others.