Sarah Warshauer Freedman studies the teaching and learning of written language, as well as ways English is taught in schools. Her research focuses on US schools but also includes cross-national comparisons. Besides studying written language, she is interested in societal divisions that lead to conflict and inequality. She has conducted research on teaching and learning about civics and has studied how adolescents on varied sides of societal divides develop as citizens and civic actors. Her work on societal divides has included research on the role of education in reconstructing societies after genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Current studies focus on youth civic development in the divided societies of Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the US and was funded by a multi-year award from the Spencer Foundation. It involves a partnership with Facing History and Ourselves. Much of Professor Freedman's research includes collaborations with teachers and practitioner-researchers.
Freedman has received a number of awards. Awards for her books include the following: the Multicultural Book Award from the National Association of Multicultural Educators and the 2000 Ed Fry Book Award from the National Reading Conference for Inside City Schools: Investigating Literacy in Multicultural Classrooms (1999); the 1989 Richard Meade Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the 1996 Ed Fry award for Exchanging Writing, Exchanging Cultures: Lessons in Reform from U.S. and British Schools (1994). Freedman, with teacher researcher Verda Delp and graduate student Suzanne Crawford, won the 2006 Purves award for the year's best 2005 article connecting research to practice in Research in the Teaching of English; the winning article was titled "Teaching English in Untracked Classrooms." In 2020, Freedman received the Witte Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Associations Special Interest Group in writing.
Freedman's newest book, Teaching in the First Year, was edited with Berkeley colleague, Jabari Mahiri, and brings together their work at Berkeley in teacher education and teacher research. Other books include Response to Student Writing (1987) and edited The Acquisition of Written Language: Response and Revision (1985).
Freedman is a member of the National Academy of Education (NAEd), a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and an associate of the National Conference for Research in the Language Arts. She has served as an adviser for many groups, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the Children's Television Workshop. She has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center.
Freedman, S.W., Barr, D., Murphy, K., & Besirevic, Z. (2016). The development of ethical civic actors in divided societies: A longitudinal case. Human Development, 59, 107-127.
Freedman, S. W. (2013). Considering the Moral Complexity of Adolescents in Divided Societies. Policy and Practice: Pedagogy about the Holocaust and Genocide Papers. Paper 7. http://commons.clarku.edu/pedagogy2013/7
Freedman, S.W., Hull, G., Higgs, J., & Booten, K.X. (2016). Teaching Writing in a Digital and Global Age: Toward Access, Learning, and Development for All. In Courtney Bell and Drew Gitomer, Eds., Handbook of Research on Teaching, 5th edition. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Freedman, S.W. Education across Sectors, United Nations Public Service Forum and Awards Ceremony, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, June, 2019. Workshop lead, speaker, and Rapporteur for workshop series. Sponsored by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
Freedman, S.W. “Cross-national (and within-national) Studies of Cultural Variation and Inclusivity: Considerations for Civic Discourse.” AERA Symposium, Invited Presidential Session, Toronto, April, 2019.
Freedman, S.W. “Growing up Divided,” AERA Symposium, Invited Presidential Session, Live Streamed. New York, April, 2018.
Freedman, S. (2017). “Challenges and Approaches to People’s Engagement in Post-conflict Situations,” Expert Group Meeting on Integrating Sustainable Development and Peace in Post-conflict Situations: The Role of Public Institutions and Public Administration, The United Nations, New York, October.
Freedman, S., Barr, D., Besirevic, Z., Murphy, K. (2016). “Studies at the Intersection of Adolescent Civic and Academic Development,”Association for Moral Education, Cambridge, MA, December.
Freedman, S.W., Hull, G., Higgs, J., Booten, K. (2015). Pecha Kucha, “Writing Research,” American Educational Research Association, Chicago, April.
Freedman, S.W. (2015). “Literacy Civic Development,” Paper presented at Ohio State University, May 27.
Freedman, S.W. (2014). “Learning to Write in a Digital and Global Age," Invited Keynote Speech, International Conference on Understanding and Dialogue: Education of Literature and Language in the Context of Globalization, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
Freedman, S. W. (2013). "Legacies of Conflict: Adolescents in Divided Societies," Invited paper presented at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
Freedman, S. W. (2013). “Considering the Moral Complexity of Adolescents in Divided Societies,” Invited paper presented at Seminar on Policy and Practice: Pedagogy about the Holocaust and Genocide, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University, Wooster, MA, April.
Freedman, S. W. (2012). “Teacher Research for the Professional Development of Language Teachers,” Invited Keynote Speech, English Language Teacher Education Summit, Bejing Normal University, Bejing, China, October (with Paul Lai)
Freedman, S.W., & Murphy, K. (2012). Narrating Social Divisions, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, December.
Freedman, S.W. (2010). Writing Research for the 21st Century. Presidential panel presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Denver.
Freedman, S.W. (2009). "The Schools in Rwanda since the 1994 Genocide" Los Altos Morning Club, Los Altos, CA.
Freedman, S.W. (2008). "Differentiating Instruction in the English Classroom: Rethinking Whole Class and Individualized Strategies." Keynote address at the annual meeting of the Hawaii Association of Teachers of English, Honolulu.
Freedman, S.W. (2008). "The Schools in Rwanda since the 1994 Genocide." Paper presented Rotary Club, Palo Alto, CA.
Freedman, S.W., & Samuelson, B. (2008). "Representing the Past in Public Spaces and Places: (Re)Shaping Political Ideology in Rwanda." Paper presented at conference on linguistic landscapes, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Interests and Professional Affiliations
American Educational Research Association
Education of At-Risk Youth
International and comparative education
Language and literacy development
Qualitative research methods
Teaching and learning
Teaching and Learning in Public Schools
Writing and Literacy
Writing and Literature
Sociocultural Theories of Learning and Development
- National Academy of Education
- National Council of Teachers of English
- American Educational Research Association
- National Conference on Language and Literacy