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Susan Kirch

Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

212-992-9474

Susan Kirch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Professor Kirch is a science educator and a biologist. Her research includes: investigations of teaching and learning science in urban elementary schools, and studies of teacher learning in the areas of science and inclusion. Kirch has participated in a variety of initiatives designed to bring teachers, K-12 students, educational researchers, and scientists together to study access to science and the nature of scientific inquiry, and she has published chapters and articles on school funding, inclusion, feminist pedagogy, co-teaching, and discourse in elementary school classrooms in journals such as Science Education, School Science and Mathematics, Cultural Studies of Science Education, and the Journal of Science Teacher Education among others. Dr. Kirch currently studies how elementary school children learn the nature of scientific evidence through activities that feature contemporary questions and issues in science. (The Scientific Thinker Project: Teaching and Learning the Nature of Scientific Evidence in Elementary School is funded by the NSF.)

In addition to her research program, Dr. Kirch has taught courses for undergraduate and graduate (MA, MS, and PhD) students including: biology, immunology, neurobiology, life science for teachers, environmental literature, research issues in science, math and technology education, and general science curriculum and instruction courses.

Dr. Kirch began her career as a molecular and cellular biologist, and has published research papers in ScienceDevelopmentProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal among others. She received a bachelor's degree with honors in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College in 1989, and completed her doctorate in cellular and developmental biology at Harvard University in 1996. Dr. Kirch first became interested in the science education of teachers and young people when she participated as a scientist in the classroom with the UCSF Science and Health Education Partnership from 1998-2001, when she was an NIH post-doctoral scholar and HHMI fellow studying the development of the nervous system at the University of California, San Francisco.

Selected Publications

  • Kirch, S.A. and Amoroso, M.A. (in press). Being and Becoming Scientists Today: Challenging Everyday Assumptions in Science Education to Reclaim a Learner Perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Kirch, S.A. (2013). Instructional design that leads the development of young scientists. In R. Reutzel (Ed.) Handbook of Research-Based Practice in Early Childhood Education. pp. 326-347. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Kirch, S.A. and Stetsenko, A. (2012). Studying scientific knowledge: Third-grade students research using claims and evidence in science. Science and Children, Summer: 44-49.
  • Kirch, S.A. and Siry, C. (2012). "Maybe the algae was from the filter": 'Maybe' and similar modifiers as meditational tools and indicators of uncertainty and possibility in children's science talk. Research in Science Education 42 (2): 261-280.
  • Kirch, S.A. (2010). Understanding scientific uncertainty as a teaching and learning goal. In B. Fraser, C. McRobbie, and K. Tobin (Eds.) Second International Handbook of Science Education. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Kirch, S.A. (2010). Identifying and resolving uncertainty as a cultural tool in science: A comparative analysis of scientists and elementary science students at work. Science Education 94: 308-355.

Courses

Integrated Curricula in Science,Health and Math

Thematic teaching across the curriculum is modeled in this course in science, health and mathematics. The course will give undergraduate childhood students the opportunity to explore teaching methodologies in each of these content areas with primary focuson the role of science education in the elementary school curriculum. Science education requires teachers not only to know science subject matter but also to understand how to use scientific information to solve real-world problems and build an environment in their classrooms where inquiry, observation and tinkering can take place
Course #
CHDED-UE 1141
Units
2
Term
Spring
Faculty

Professors

Susan Kirch ,
Department

Prosem I Teach/Learn

A department wide, two semester, doctoral seminar in the advance study of teaching and learning. For first year students it will serve as an induction into scholarly reading, writing and thinking culminating in the completion of a mentored project leading to candidacy. The fall semester addresses basic questions concerning scholarship and its relationship to practice. The spring semester focuses on the variety of the educational research and involves reading a variety of scholarly texts. Other doctoral students will take it as an opportunity to stay in contact with a scholarly community as they work on their dissertations.
Course #
TCHL-GE 3037
Units
1 - 3
Term
Fall
Faculty

Professors

Susan Kirch ,
Department

Science Experiences in The Elementary School I

Science experiences for elementary school are developed and strategies for implementation and evaluation are devised. Issues such as basic attitutdes toward science, equity in the science classroom, and learning styles will be explored. Students will develop a catalogue of resources, both in print and on-line, for expanding understanding of science content, developing science skills, integrating science into the rest of the curriculum, exploring science activities appropriate for children and assessing science teaching and learning.
Course #
SCIED-GE 2009
Units
2
Term
Fall
Faculty

Professors

Susan Kirch ,
Department

Science Experiences in The Elementary School II

This course examines several models for teaching preschool and elementary science.Science experiences for elementary students are developed, and strategies for implementation and evaluation are devised.
Course #
SCIED-GE 2010
Units
2
Term
Fall
Faculty

Professors

Susan Kirch , Pamela Fraser-Abder ,
Department