Multilevel Research in Urban Education(Fall, 2013)

The course develops methodology and methods grounded in sociocultural theory that is applicable to research in various settings in which urban education occurs. Within a multi-theoretical framework we review various forms of participant observation that are applicable to meso- and micro-level analyses, and examine complementary methods for analyzing social artifacts, including video and audio files. We address the quality of research in terms of established criteria that probe the extent to which what is learned is viable and applicable to broader contexts. The methods we explore include: conversation analysis; prosody analysis; analysis of facial action; emotions, emotional energy and emotional climate; proxemics, kinesics, and gaze; and the incorporation of research on physiological factors associated with social constructs such as a participation and emotional expression (e.g., breathing patterns, heart rate). The potential for using a variety of hardware and software is explored, including ways of gathering data transmitted via Bluetooth technology (e.g., data transmitted from audience response clickers, oximeters, etc.). We will focus on analytical approaches to making sense of qualitative and quantitative data resources, including the ways in which central tendencies and spread/difference are interpreted.

Recognizing the complexity of macro and global structures and ways in which they saturate social life and what can be learned from research in the social sciences we will examine how leading researchers in New York City, including colleagues in the Graduate Center, take account of macro and global structures and their research. Theoretical standpoints associated with the aggregation of what is learned from multilevel research will be considered. All participants will engage in a research project and incorporate fresh perspectives through personal studies of what is happening in multilevel research.

Logics of Inquiry (offered: spring, 2013)

The course is intended to introduce participants to a range of different research methods and to develop a sophisticated understanding of methodological issues and alternatives in urban educational research. The focus will be on issues, paradigms, strategies, and research methods that enable students to better understand what happens in various educational settings, in urban educational settings in particular, and what issues are involved when we collaborate with participants as [co] researchers. In addition, participants will have opportunities to think about their individual research interests and apply what they are learning analysis of published research in their field, proposals to do research, and IRB requests.
 We will examine studies using qualitative and quantitative data and numerous research genres. We will consider criteria for mixed method designs and multi-level types of research. The course focuses on the rationale (theoretical, empirical, political, etc.) for research in urban education. Accordingly, we will not consider particular research methods in depth, but will explore the advantages and limitations of a variety of methods in relation to critical problems of urban education.
 The course can be taken prior to other research methods courses, or after. The course is viewed as a requisite for research design, research evaluation, peer review of published research, and doing research in all of its phases.

Studies of teaching, learning, and learning to teach inUrban Contexts(To be offered, spring 2014)

Thursday, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Kenneth Tobin

The course involves a critical review of research on teaching, learning and learning to teach in urban settings. Although research will involve schools (pre K - college) there is a conscious effort to expand the view of education to expand the range of institutions involved in education, including but not limited to museums, galleries, parks, and penal institutions in addition to those whose primary missions might not consciously involve educating urban citizens--such as those involved with health care, media, transportation, and religion. The course will embrace learning from across a continuum from birth through death. Participants in the course will choose several areas of interest in which to specialize. As well as critiquing published literature we will identify areas in which there is a dearth of research and policy and plan research to study areas we consider to be high priority. As well as evaluating research methodologies and designs for a wide spectrum of studies, participants will build specialized expertise in selected methods and design appropriate studies of urban education. Consistent with a broader set of perspectives on teaching and learning,participants will examine the nature of teaching and learning to teach in the institutions studied in the course.


Review of published research (three reviews, each between 500-1000 words. Due weeks 4, 10 and 14 respectively). 40%

Conceptual paper on teaching and learning in a "non-traditional" urban setting (to be negotiated with the professor -- e.g., media, age restricted community, health care setting, penal institution) and the enhancement of literate citizenry. (Approx. 2000 words, due week 8). 30%

Research design on a topic of interest that relates to teaching, learning and/or learning to teach in urban settings (select no more than two broad foci). Approx. 2000 words, due final week of class together with a 15 minute presentation at USER-S in April or May. 30%

Kenneth Tobin 2015