Amy Ballin

Assistant Professor
  • Education


  • Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
    Ph.D. in Education
  • Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
    C.A.G.S. in Education Administration
  • Boston University, Boston, MA
    M.S.W. in Group Work
  • Antioch New England Graduate School, Keene, NH
    M.S.T. in Science Teaching
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
    B.S. in Environmental Education

About Me

From my earliest teaching years as a k-8 science teacher, I focused on the process of designing an interactive and creative classroom that brought issues of social justice to the forefront.  I authored a curriculum for middle school teachers, Trash conflicts:  A science and social studies curriculum on the ethics of disposal in 1990.  As schools began introducing an exclusive reliance on science textbooks into classrooms, I worked against this tide by gathering a group of volunteers and led the construction of a hands-on Science Park featured in Parent and Teaching Magazine.

My scholarly interests include a focus on creative approaches to teaching pedagogy and social action to eradicate injustices embedded within our educational system.  I connect the social and emotional lives of children with their academic success and believe in designing teaching methods to engage a wide range of learners to find solutions to teaching children rather than blaming children. In addition, I explore how racial and socioeconomic assumptions intersect with the social construction of special education.  My recent book, The Quest for Meaningful Special Education (2016), explores the ethics of special education.

As part of my support for inventive education, I serve on the Parent Advisory Board for Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts.

My publication, (May, 2016), “Adult graduate student voices: Good and bad learning experiences,” in Journal of Adult Learning describes a research study into what graduate student say helps them learn and what instructors do that discourages their learning.  This research helps inform my own teaching.

What I Teach

  • Classroom Management
  • Social Work in Schools
  • Special Education Law
  • Individualized Education Programs
  • Inclusion, Collaboration and Consultation for Meaningful Access to the Curriculum
  • Seminar and Fieldwork in Education
  • Critical Issues in Education
  • Equity and Well-Being in Public Schools

Research/Creative Activities

My recently published book, The Quest for a Meaningful Special Education, follows the educational journeys of nine students with a language-based learning disability (LBLD) who, through a combination of parental advocacy and luck, were removed from a debilitating learning situation and then enrolled in a school designed to address their particular learning needs. In the process of following their journeys I explore the role of cultures within and outside the school.  I question the ethics of a “special education” that allows some children to find a path responsive to their needs while others end up slated for the “school to prison pipeline.”

For additional resources in the field see:

Disabilities Studies Quarterly

Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access

National Center for Restructuring, Education schools, and Teaching (NCREST), Teachers College, Columbia University

National Education Association

The Civil Rights Project

Engaging Schools

Council for Exceptional Children