Christopher A. Olshefski - Presentations
Graduate Student Assistant

Olshefski, C. A. & Godley, A. J. (2020, December). High School Teachers' Learning About Students' Collaborative Discussion through Computer-Based Feedback. Paper accepted for Literacy Research Association 70th Annual Conference.
Olshefski, C. A. (2020, December). Religious themes in English language arts discussions. Paper Accepted for Literacy Research Association 70th Annual Conference.
Godley, A. G., Olshefski, C.A., Litman, D. Lugini, L. (2020, April). Methodological Innovations for the Automated Analysis of Classroom Discourse. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. (Conference canceled due to COVID-19)
Olshefski, C. A. (2020, April). Theorizing Dialogic Christianities in Teacher Identity. Paper accepted by the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. (Conference canceled due to COVID-19)
Olshefski, C. (2019, December). Negotiating Pedagogical and Religious Identities: A Qualitative Case Study. Paper submitted for Literacy Research Association 69th Annual Conference: Literacy Research: Illuminating the Future. Tampa, Florida.
This qualitative case study of one white Evangelical English Language Arts (ELA) teacher in a Cristo Rey Catholic school aims to understand how her religious identity influences and is influenced by her teacher identity. Research on teacher identity has been largely based on the premise that, because of the personal investment required in teaching, teachers’ personal identities influence their work which in turn influences students’ learning experiences (Day et al., 2006, p. 603). The interrelationship between the personal and professional is perhaps most emphasized in ELA (Alsup, 2006; Jacobs, 2014), which centers the role of personal experiences in disciplinary learning (NCTE/IRA, 1996, standard 3). Although educators and researchers are often challenged to reflect on the way their work is shaped by their cultural ‘positionalities’ (Milner, 2007) the relationship between religious faith and teacher identities has received less attention in educational research than race, gender and/or social class (White, 2009). Even with “the growing realization of the important role spirituality plays in education” (Hartwick, 2012, p. 663) as well as recent studies on religion’s influence on students’ literacy learning (e.g., Juzwik, 2014; LeBlanc, 2015; Rackley, 2010; Skerret, 2014), interest in religious faith’s role in ELA teacher identity is new (e.g., Juzwik & McKenzie, 2015) and largely under-theorized. This study contributes to the small but growing field of literacy research on the relationship between religion and literacy (Davila, 2015; Juzwik, 2014; Skerret, 2014) by calling for future research to consider the ways teaching and personal faith identities iteratively shape each other.
Olshefski, C. (2019, April). Intersections Between White Evangelical Identity and Critically Oriented Pedagogies. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2019. Toronto, Canada.

Broad-scale empirical data suggest that religious identity can only explain variations within our Nation’s political discourses when intersecting racial identities are also considered. Yet, rarely do studies engage in both dialogic approaches to religion andcritical race inquiry. This study expands educational research on teacher identity by dialogically and critically analyzing a high school cultural literacy teacher’s racial, religious and professional identities in the context of an urban Catholic school. These findings, though locally situated, suggest that critically conscious researchers may do well to consider the role religious identity might play in cultivating criticality in educational research.

Godley, A. & Olshefski, C. (2019, April). The Promises and Limitations of Computer-Based Analyses of Classroom Discourse: A Study of Literature Discussions. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2019. Toronto, Canada.

Recent advances in computer science have made it possible to build computer programs that can reliably detect complex features of classroom discourse such as authentic teacher questions (Blanchard et al., 2016) and coherence of topics (Rose & Tovares, 2015) relatively quickly and accurately. As in the case of TeachFX, such approaches are rapidly being commercialized and marketed to schools. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the promises, limitations, and “state of the art” methods for computer-based analyses of classroom discourse. As an example, we present the results of a cross-disciplinary study that blended methods of qualitative discourse analysis and computer science to study critical features of student talk in high school English Language Arts (ELA) literature discussions. This paper responds to the Language and Social Processes (LSP) SIG Call for Proposals by “complicat[ing] often taken-for-granted methodological or theoretical approaches to discourse” and to the AERA Annual Meeting CFP by presenting an “interdisciplinary and mixed-method body of evidence” drawn from multiple ELA classrooms that addresses a compelling current issue of policy and practice: promoting more equitable and meaningful talk in classrooms.

Olshefski, C. (2018, November). Hard truths and heavy questions: An Evangelical Christian literacy teacher negotiates identity tensions. Roundtable presented at Literacy Research Association 68th Annual Conference: Reclaiming Literacy Research: Centering Activism, Community, and Love. Indian Wells, California.
Olshefski, C. & Godley, A. (2018, April). Characteristics of student talk in high-quality text discussions across secondary English language arts classrooms. Poster presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2018, New York, New York.
Godley, A. & Olshefski, C. (2017, November). The role of argument moves, specificity and evidence type in meaningful literary discussions across diverse secondary classrooms. Paper presented at Literacy Research Association 67th Annual Conference: Literacy Research for Expanding Meaningfulness. Tampa, Florida.
Christopher A. Olshefski


University of Pittsburgh
740 Learning Research and Development Center
3939 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260