NYU Partnership School Program

Curriculum Projects Petrie Partnership 2008-2009

Partnership for Teacher Excellence Curriculum Projects 2008-2009

Principals of Chemistry: A lesson study approach to developing a new course for high school chemistry teachers

Project leaders: Burt Goldberg and Neville Kallenbach

This project involves a partnership among the NYU Chemistry Department and the Steinhardt School's Department of Teaching and Learning, to create and launch a new course in chemistry for aspiring chemistry teachers. It aims to enroll both Steinhardt students preparing to teach as part of the master's program in Science Education, and also currently practicing teachers in New York City and elsewhere who wish to add chemistry to their areas of licensure.

The course will be content-pedagogy and technology-rich. It will take account of the finding by the 2002 Survey of Science and Mathematics Education that fewer than half of US chemistry teachers have taken advanced courses in chemistry. At the same time, it will deal directly with issues of learning chemistry - incorporating attention to common misperceptions identified in research on learning. And it will also deal with the pedagogy of chemistry, using a lesson study approach that makes teaching transparent, and a continual topic for reflection and discussion. Finally, it will create a set of resources (lesson plans, laboratory experiments, simulations, etc.) that can be used by the students in their own chemistry teaching.

While the course addresses the needs for good science teaching in high schools, it also implicitly addresses the need within higher education for a more varied teaching repertoire in science (beyond the pervasive lecture). This course will be deeply based on teaching and learning by inquiry.

Revising the Math Education Curriculum

Project leader: Karen King

This project will examine the entire mathematics education curriculum at NYU in light of recent developments in the field of mathematics teacher education - including the recently released revision of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Professional Teaching Standards, and recent accounts of exemplary initial certification programs in mathematics. The project also aims to address recent findings from the ongoing evaluation of the NYU teacher education program regarding repetition in assignments and readings across courses, and lack of sufficient connection between courses and student teaching (Tobias and Barrett, 2007).

The project will develop a set of standards to guide the curriculum and the evaluation of courses and fieldwork, identify needs for curricular revision, and create a revised program of study as needed for both undergraduate and graduate initial certification programs.

Project activities will include review of teaching standards from such organizations as NCTM, NCATE, NBPTS, and NCATE; interviews of key stakeholders, including principals, assistant principals, mathematics coaches, and cooperating teachers; consultations with national and local members of an advisory board; review of syllabi; consultations with NYU colleagues in such area as special education, literacy, and language acquisition; and preparation of a final report presented for review by the advisory board.

Dynamic Geometry in Classrooms

Project leaders: Brenda Strassfeld

Dynamic Geometry is active, exploratory geometry carried out with interactive computer software. This project combines research in NYU partnership high school classrooms with efforts to explore and extend the use of dynamic geometry software and other technology tools and representations in mathematics methods courses. Aspiring teachers will analyze what NYC students are doing in their geometry classes, using student work and teachers' lesson plans, in order to drive discussion of the effective use of dynamic geometry.

Teaching Secondary Science: Understanding the Basic Content Requirements

Project leader: Pamela Fraser-Abder

This project takes its cue from indications that science teachers in the 21st century need to be more acquainted than in the past with science content across specialization. For example, the New York City Department of Education recently developed a science scope and sequence K-8 that puts emphasis on the connections among the different content areas of science, and New York State is in the process of exploring ways in which it can encourage supplemental certification among secondary science teachers - chemistry and biology, or physics and earth science. NYU wants to ensure that its aspiring science teachers have basic content knowledge across all science content areas, in addition to deep content knowledge in their specialty area.

The project will revise the capstone science course that all science education students take at NYU to ensure this outcome. The project is a partnership of the NYU Science Education faculty, the NYU Science faculty, and DOE curriculum specialists. In addition to revising the course, the partnership will also produce a website that will feature lesson plans, videos of laboratory explorations, and information on informal resources for cross-content science teaching in New York City. The project aims to ensure that all partners will become more knowledgeable about the science content that New York City aspiring teachers need to learn, and more committed to the joint task of preparing the best possible science teachers for New York City.

A Joint Course for Aspiring Teachers and Social Workers

Project co-leaders: Diane Mirabito and Phil Coltoff

A highlight of the Partnership for Teacher Excellence at NYU has been a set of joint activities undertaken by the NYU Silver School of Social Work and the NYU Steinhardt School. These activities have highlighted the power of inter-professional collaboration in support of student learning, and the need for aspiring teachers to know more about the communities where their students live, and the resources in these communities that can supplement school supports for learning.

This project takes these efforts an important next step by designing and launching a joint course by Silver and Steinhardt for teachers and social workers. It will focus on the needs for both professional groups to understand the cultural contexts of communities and their schools, the ways in which classrooms and schools can be culturally responsive, the ways in which these two professions can work together to create safe and healthy school environments for children and youth, and the ways that their work together can benefit from understanding and using students' social networks.

"Deep and Fair": Using Videogame Clubs to Advance Learning and Teaching

Scholars who celebrate videogames as powerful learning systems note that unlike so many other learning contexts, these games are "deep and fair" (Gee 2007). They are "deep" in that they provide a visceral, immersive, and challenging experience that often involves problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. At the same time, they are "fair" in the sense that whether players win or lose, they do not feel that the cards are stacked against them. These qualities of depth and fairness have often eluded educators in their efforts to create effective schools and classrooms. On the other hand, videogames present many pedagogical limitations. They are time-consuming. They bend the rules of disciplinary knowledge - whether of physics or history. And they often reproduce problematic stereotypes. Meanwhile, young people are consuming these games at a high rate without guidance on how to read them or apply the learning they gain in them to academic contexts.

This project, using after-school videogame clubs in three NYU partnership schools, and involving NYU aspiring teachers in an onsite elective course called the Games and Curriculum Course (E27.2018), examines videogames as learning systems, and also as potential pedagogical tools for teaching important content knowledge and academic skills - in particular, to students who are alienated from academic work.

Teaching Methods in a Host School

Project leader: Diana Turk

This project presumes that it is vitally important that NYU teacher education students experience first-hand the realities of New York City public school classrooms as they are also learning the fundamentals of curriculum planning and design, classroom management, lesson planning and implementation, and assessment philosophies and strategies. The danger otherwise is that student teachers will marginalize what they learned in methods classes in the face of the difficulties they encounter in student teaching.

In the spring 2008 semester, Professor Turk taught the Social Studies Methods class at New Design High School in space that the school provided, drawing on the expertise of two teachers that the school made available, and with unlimited opportunities for the NYU Methods students to observe in classrooms, and then come together to discuss their observations.

Inquiries into Teaching and Learning: Insights from the Lead Course

Project co-leaders: Jim Fraser and Beth McDonald

The course called Inquiries into Teaching and Learning is a lead course in two respects. It is the keystone course of the NYU teacher education program - the introduction to teaching and learning that all aspiring teachers at NYU - regardless of level or content specialty - must take, whether as graduate students or undergraduate students. It has also served as the lead course in NYU's efforts to connect coursework with fieldwork through co-teaching by NYU and host school faculty on site in host schools.

This project will take account of the data from a year of experimentation with the co-taught/on-site format to answer such questions as the following:

  • What have been the benefits and drawbacks?
  • What challenges have arisen?
  • How should these be addressed?
  • What has been the impact of the format change on the course content?
  • What additional changes may be necessary?
  • How well have the various sections taken advantage of their setting?
  • What factors facilitate such advantage?
  • What factors impede it?

Racial and Ethical Sensitivity Training for NYU Aspiring Teachers

Project leader: Selcuk Sirin

One implicit goal of the Partnership for Teacher Excellence is to ensure that the aspiring teachers it helps prepare have the knowledge they need to function well among the culturally diverse students of New York City. They must learn to teach all their students well - despite the adverse academic and social impact of intolerance and discrimination on many of these students, and despite the predictable cultural mismatch between many of these students and themselves. The Racial and Ethical Sensitivity Training Workshop (REST-W) - piloted to good reviews in 2007-2008 on a voluntary basis among NYU aspiring teachers - is designed to address this goal by heightening their intercultural and ethical awareness. Using videotaped intercultural school-based encounters, discussion, ethics awareness, and role-playing, the Workshop addresses cultural mismatch by training students to expect it and act ethically and assertively in the face of it.

This project has extended the pilot to many more students, and now addresses the question of how to make the REST experience a regular part of the NYU teacher-education curriculum. Efforts will include incorporation of the REST work into this summer's Social Responsibility course, development of an instructor-friendly CD-ROM, and explorations with the NYU Educational Theater Program faculty about possible collaboration in 2008-2009.

Regents "Prep" for Methods Students

Project co-leaders: Jane Fields and Terra Lynch (University Neighborhood High School)

This project focuses on the creation of a template for teaching NYU aspiring secondary teachers about the Regents exams that they must help their students prepare for. The template was piloted in Spring 2008 in an English Methods course, and it focused on the ELA Regents - the one exam that all New York State students must take and pass in English.

The template takes advantage of the relationship between NYU and its host schools. It asks host school faculty for the benefit of NYU students whom they mentor to prepare a school's eye and student's view of a particular Regents exam. Thus, methods students encounter the exam through the following elements:

  • An experience actually taking the exam in the form of one relatively easy item and one relatively difficult one (all the Regents exams include both)
  • An encounter with actual student work prompted by these items
  • An exploration of how the exam is graded - using, for example, anchor papers, answer keys, scoring rubrics, and weighting rules.
  • An introduction to the "lexicon" of the exam - for example, critical lens, DBQ.
  • An exploration of assignments that in the view of the host school faculty prepare students for the exam without sacrificing intellectual content, and without engaging in the kind of "test prep" that actually reduces the validity of the test itself.

The Contexts of Teaching

Project leader: LaRuth Gray

This project, funded in the 2006-2007 cycle, aimed to develop a web-based e-learning curriculum that introduces NYU students to the communities where they teach, and to the cultures that constitute these communities. These segments are now nearing completion. They will be available on NYU/Steinhardt's Metro Center web pages for integration with a variety of NYU teacher-education courses, as well as for independent exploration by NYU aspiring teachers. This Expo will premier one of the segments.

Adolescent Development: Theory and Research

Project leader: Fabienne Doucet

Adolescent Development: Theory and Research (E63.2272) is a course offered by the Department of Applied Psychology in collaboration with the Department of Teaching and Learning, and is required for all MA-level students seeking certification in secondary education. It is the last of a set of four core courses to undergo curriculum revision as the result of Partnership for Teacher Excellence curriculum funding.

Educational research, common sense, and New York State policies all agree that aspiring teachers need a thorough understanding of developmental processes in order to teach well. However, student evaluations of this course consistently indicate that students do not agree. That is, they do not understand the applicability of its content to the demands of what they are aspiring to learn - namely how to teach well. This may be a failure of pedagogy, of content, or of the timing of the course in the aspiring teachers' learning trajectory. In any case, it begs attention, and this project is one response.

The project leader is both a developmental psychologist and a teacher educator. She aims to revise the course in ways that equip aspiring teachers with critical developmental content knowledge, and also insight into its practical uses.

Fast Track Revisions

Project Leader: Maura Gouck

The Fast Track Program is NYU's calendar-year MA program in teacher education that enrolls non-education BA majors. It will enroll its sixth cohort this June. This project focuses on what has been learned from the previous five years, and from recent evaluation data collected under the auspices of the TEAC accreditation effort and the Partnership for Teacher Excellence evaluation.

It addresses such questions as the following:

  • Is Fast Track too fast?
  • Is it too slow?
  • Is it too intensive?
  • Does it allow for the best blend of course-based and field-based learning?
  • How similar or different should it be from the "regular-track" MA program?

Partnership For Teacher Excellence Curriculum Projects 2007-2008

Assessment of Learning and Instruction for the Classroom
Project Leaders: Mark Alter and Frances Rust

Best Practices Colloquia and Demonstrations: Focus on Fractions:
Project Leader: Gail Richardson, Research Scholars, Department of Teaching and Learning
Project Participants: Anne Burgunder, Mauriciere DeGovia, Fred Greenleaf, Brooke Precil

Context: Metro/Social Work Interdisciplinary Team-Building Collaborative Field Project
Project Leaders: Phillip Coltoff and Diane Mirabito, NYU School of Social Work
LaRuth Gray and Eddie Fergus, Metro Center, NYU Steinhardt School of Education
Project Participants:
Dr. Henry Chung, VP, NYU Student Health Services,
Rosa Pietanza and Natalie Rodrigues, Coordinators, Partnership for Teacher Excellence
East Harlem Partnership School: Manhattan Center for Science and Math, and Isaac Newton School for Math and Science
South Bronx School: IS 98 and PS 198
4 Social Work Interns
Two Field Instructors (Supervisors) from Children's Aid Society

Learning Partners Curriculum, Professional Development and Assessment Projects
Project Leaders: Mary Leou, Audra Watson, Rosa Pietanza, Frank Pignatosi, Patricia Romandetto, Lee Frissell, Beth Markowitz, Natalie Rodrigues, Sandra Tacina, Carla Gourdine

Redesigning the Secondary Teachers' Understanding of Language and Literacy Learning in a School-Based Context Partnership for Teacher Excellence Curriculum Development Project
Project Leaders: James Fraser, David Kirkland, Rebecca Packer
Project Participants: David Kirkland and Rebecca Packer

Teaching Content Areas to ELLs and Developing English Language Skills Through Content Areas
Project Leader: Frank Tang
Project Participants: from NYU- Frank, Tang, Will Smathers, Bob Wallace, Zhonghong Jiang, Tasha Darbes
from Partnership Schools - Meiling Tse, Devorah Tedeschi, Adelina Watson
from Department of Education - Maria Santos and Rachel Huff

Using Science Profile Date to Inform Improved Teaching and Learning of Science in Partnership Schools
Project Leaders: Julia Rankin and Jason Blonstein
Project Participants: Pamela Fraser-Abder, David Scicchitano, Catherine Milne, Robert Wallace, Leigha Ingham