Article on formative intervention by Bal et al in American Educational Research Journal

Professor Aydin Bal together with two members of his team, Kemal Afacan and Halil Ibrahim Cakir at University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA recently published the following article in American Educational Research Journal, using cultural-historical activity theory and the methodology of formative interventions addresssing racial disparities in school discipline at a public high school



Bal, A., Afacan, K., Cakir, H. I. (2018). Culturally responsive school discipline: Implementing Learning Lab at a high school for systemic transformation. American Educational Research Journal, 55(5), 1007-1050.


Youth from racially minoritized communities disproportionately receive exclusionary school discipline more severely and frequently. The racialization of school discipline has been linked to long-term deleterious impacts on students’ academic and life outcomes. In this article, we present a formative intervention, Learning Lab that addressed racial disparities in school discipline at a public high school. Learning Lab successfully united local stakeholders, specifically those who had been historically excluded from the school’s decision-making activities. Learning Lab members engaged in historical and empirical root cause analyses, mapped out their existing discipline system, and designed a culturally responsive schoolwide behavioral support model in response to diverse experiences, resources, practices, needs, and goals of local stakeholders. Analysis drew on the theory of expansive learning to examine how the Learning Lab process worked through expansive learning actions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Link to the article


Bal Learning Lab