Joan Walker


Associate Professor

Joan Turner Walker, PhD
Associate Professor
Phone: (914) 773-3803


Dr. Walker is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) Article Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the premier professional organization for American teacher education.
The award review committee noted how Dr. Walker's focus on teacher-parent interactions addresses a critical component that is overlooked in many teacher preparation programs. The committee further lauded the excellence in scholarship and innovative approach that is an effective model for preparing educators throughout the nation. Dr. Walker's research has led to the development of an innovative online course on parent-teacher interactions.
Learn more about Dr. Walker's research on parent-teacher communication and the related online course by viewing a brief video about the project, reviewing the JTE article, or accessing a sample case study from the online program.

  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Vanderbilt-Northwestern-University of Texas-Harvard/MIT Engineering Research Center (VaNTH ERC), Vanderbilt University
  • PhD, Psychology (Developmental), Vanderbilt University
  • MS, Psychology, Vanderbilt University
  • BMEd, Bachelor of Music Education, University of Kentucky
Courses Taught
  • TCH 301: Undergraduate course in Understanding Learning and Teaching
  • EDU 201K: Undergraduate honors course on Expertise
  • ED 631: Graduate course in Educational Psychology
  • ED 690: Capstone Teacher as Researcher Course
Research Interests
My research examines links among social interaction, learning and motivation. I focus my work in two areas, teacher-parent interactions and teacher-student relationships.

In the area of teacher-parent interactions I have been examining teacher candidates’ readiness for family-school partnership by using multimedia online case studies. This work is important because it prepares candidates for a challenging but often invisible practice, the parent-teacher conference.  The study’s design and findings offer the field evidence for an effective pedagogical model to teach candidates both about communication with parents as well as how to do so in respectful and responsive ways. A 2012 publication in the Journal of Teacher Education describes this work. You can see a sample of the online cases here.

I am also conducting an evaluation of the effectiveness of the "Realizing the American Dream” curriculum, which aims to boost student achievement by helping parents productively participate in their children’s education. Grounded in research I conducted with colleagues at Vanderbilt University, the curriculum was designed by the American Dream Academy at Arizona State University and the Parent Institute of Fairfax, VA. 

I study teacher-student relationships by exploring teacher candidates’ work in our virtual classroom. Watching candidates field a standardized set of challenges from student avatars in real time helps me (and my students!) understand the challenges of classroom management and techniques for creating classroom community and behavioral expectations. A paper to be presented at the 2013 American Educational Research Association conference describes my approach and findings.

I also seek to understand how students recruit motivational and cognitive resources from their interactions with teachers.  I am particularly interested in how students’ perceptions of their teachers’ interpersonal style influences their motivation to learn and learning outcomes. A special issue that I organized and co-edited on this topic can be found at the Journal of Classroom Interaction.


  • Walker, J.M.T., & Dotger, B. (2012). Because wisdom can’t be told: Using comparison of simulated parent-teacher conferences to support prospective educators’ interpersonal skill development. Journal of Teacher Education.
  • Walker, J. M. T., Ice, C. L., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (2011).Latino parents’ motivations for involvement in their children’s schooling: An exploratory study.The Elementary School Journal, 111(3), 409-429.
  • Walker, J. M. T., Shenker, S., &Hoover-Dempsey, K. V. (2010). Why do parents become involved in their children's education? Implications for school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 14(1), 27-41.
  • Walker, J. M. T. (2009). Teacher practices and teacher style: What we can learn from research on parenting. In J. Walker (Ed.) A person-centered approach to classroom management: How and why it makes a difference. Theory Into Practice, 48(2), 122-129.
  • Walker, J. M. T.(2008). Looking at teacher practices through the lens of parenting style: Three case studies at entry to middle school.Journal of Experimental Education, 76, 218-240.
  • Walker, J. M. T. & Hoover-Dempsey, K. V. (2008). Parent involvement: Barriers and resources pre-service teachers should know about. In C. Ames, D. Berliner, J. Brophy, L. Corno, T. Good, & M. McCaslin (Eds.), 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook, Vol 2, (pp. 382-391). Sage Publications.
  • Green, C. L., Walker, J. M. T., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (2007). Parents’ motivations for involvement in children’s education: An empirical test of a theoretical model of parental involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 532-544.
  • Walker, J. M. T., & Hoover-Dempsey, K. V. (2006). Why research on parental involvement is important to classroom management. In C. Evertson & C. Weinstein (Eds.), The Handbook of Classroom Management, (pp. 665-684). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Conference Presentations
  • 94th Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), April 27-May 1, 2013, San Francisco, Calif. Theme:“Education and Poverty: Theory, Research, Policy, and Praxis.”
    • Classroom Management Research Presentations. Classroom Management Paper Session. "Let’s Get (Virtually) Real: Learning About Classroom Management."
    • Culturally Responsive With Multiple Ways of Looking at Our Families. Family, School, Community Partnerships Roundtable Session. "Realizing the American Dream: A Parent Education Program Designed to Engage Latino Families’ Involvement."
  • Walker, J.M.T. (2012). Using Multi-Media Case Study Materials to Assess and Prepare Teacher Candidates for School-Home Communication. Paper presented at the 16th International Roundtable on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Vancouver, Canada.  Sponsored by the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Walker, J.M.T. (2012). Realizing the American Dream:  A Parent Education Program Designed to Help Disenfranchised Populations Access Mainstream Educational Opportunities. Paper presented at the 16th International Roundtable on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Vancouver, Canada.  Sponsored by the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Walker, J.M.T.,Ice, C., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (2010). Comparing definitions of parental involvement: What is the best predictor of student self-regulation? Paper presented at the 15th International Roundtable on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, Denver, CO.  Sponsored by the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Walker, J. M. T.(2009). The structure and function of control and care: Learning from research on parenting style. In J. Walker, Chair. The role of control and care in teacher effectiveness: Articulating structures and functions. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.


Learn more about Dr. Walker's research and development of an innovative parent-teacher communication online course.
Learn more about Dr. Walker's background in education, overall research and work with teacher candidates at Pace University.