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Arnetha F. Ball

Photo of Arnetha F. Ball

Arnetha F. Ball

Professor Emerita

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Assistant: Elayne Weissler Martello


Arnetha F. Ball is the Charles E. Ducommun Endowed Professor (Emerita) in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. She is a Professor (Emerita) in the Curriculum Studies, Teacher Education, Educational Linguistics, and Social Sciences in Education Programs. She previously served as the inaugural Chair of the Cross Area Cross Disciplinary Program in Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) and as Director of the University’s Program in African and African American Studies. Dr. Ball served as Secretary and Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Division on Teaching and Teacher Education and was the 2011-2012 President of the association. She is also a past US Representative to the World Educational Research Association. Before entering the professorate, she taught in pre-school, elementary, and secondary classrooms for over 25 years and was the founder and Executive Director of "Children’s Creative Workshop," an early education center that specialized in providing premiere educational experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. There, she developed a professional learning community and provided professional development materials for her staff from 1974 to 1984. Her research is designed to advance transformation in teacher education programs and sociocultural theory through studies that integrate sociolinguistic, discourse analytic and ethnographic approaches to investigate ways in which semiotic systems in general, and oral and written language in particular, serve as a means for mediating teaching and learning in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. Her interdisciplinary program of research is conducted in complex learning environments that are faced with the promise and the challenges of improving education for diverse populations in three intersecting contexts: U.S. schools where predominantly poor and minoritized students are underachieving; U.S., South African and New Zealand teacher education programs that prepare teachers to teach students in culturally and linguistically complex classrooms; and community-based organizations that provide alternative education opportunities for academic and/or economic success. Her most recent research investigates the role of generativity and successful paradigms, principles and practices in preparing teachers for diversity across national boundaries in countries that serve large numbers of historically marginalized students—including the U.S., South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Winner of the 2020 Miriam Roland Volunteer Service Award, 2019 Division K Legacy Award, and 2019 NCRLL Distinguished Scholar Award, Ball received the 2009 AERA Palmer O. Johnson Award and is the author/co-editor of seven books and numerous articles. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and has served as an Academic Specialist for the United States Information Services Program in South Africa and Distinguished Visiting Scholar in professional development programs in New Zealand and Australia. Recipient of the 2015 St. Clair Drake Teaching Award, Dr. Ball served as a trustee of the Research Foundation of the National Council of Teachers of English, Chair of the Executive Board of NCRLL, was the Inaugural Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Visiting Professor in Urban Education, and was the 2015 Co-convener for the World Educational Research Association’s International Research Network on Overcoming Inequalities in Schools and Learning Communities: Innovative Education for a New Century. Her recent work focuses on the development of blended online professional development that prepares teachers to work with diverse student populations and on the implementation of her Model of Generative Change (2009, 2012) in transnational contexts. She holds a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Other Titles

Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Graduate School of Education

Program Affiliations

CTE: Literacy, Language, and English Education
CTE: Teacher Education
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
SHIPS (PhD): Educational Linguistics

Research Interests

Curriculum and Instruction | Diversity and Identity | Equity in Education | International and Comparative Education | Literacy and Language | Poverty and Inequality | Research Methods | Teachers and Teaching | Technology and Education

See a full list of GSE Faculty research interests >

Recent Publications

Ball, A. F., Greene, D. M., Friedman, J. S. L., & Dray, B. J. (2021). The Trifecta Framework: Preparing Agents of Change in Urban Education. URBAN EDUCATION.

Miller, R., Liu, K., & Ball, A. F. (2020). Critical Counter-Narrative as Transformative Methodology for Educational Equity. EMERGENT APPROACHES FOR EDUCATION RESEARCH: WHAT COUNTS AS INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND WHAT EDUCATION RESEARCH COUNTS?, 44, 269–300.

Brito, E., & Ball, A. F. (2020). Realizing the Theory of Generative Change Using a Freirean Lens: Situating the Zone of Generativity within a Liberatory Framework. Action in Teacher Education, 42(1).

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