The University of Pennsylvania

While I was at the University of Pennsylvania I focused my research on the teaching and learning of science in urban high schools and learning to teach in urban high schools. At the same time I was involved in research that involved elementary teaching, learning, and learning to teach and the teaching and learning of science at the college level.

I expanded my collaboration with Wolff-Michael Roth, focusing on applications of sociocultural theory to research in science education and developing a research and development program associated with coteaching. The research on coteaching led to research on cogenerative dialogue.

I undertook collaborative research and development with faculty in the Department of Chemistry. This work was principally involved with the preparation of high school chemistry teacher's, who obtained a Master’s degree in Chemistry Education from the University of Pennsylvania. A number of teacher researchers associated with my research in urban high schools enrolled for this degree program and graduated with a master's degree in chemistry education. These included Sonya Martin, Linda Loman Flohr, and Cristobal Carambo who went on to obtain doctoral degrees from Curtin University. Cath Milne came from Australia in a postdoctoral position to work on the projects with the chemistry department. Other colleagues like Kate Scantlebury also were closely involved in this ongoing work with me, and faculty from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

When I first arrived at Penn I was still involved with a distance-learning project that we had pioneered. Together with colleagues from Florida State University we had developed Connecting Communities of Learners, web-based software that allowed graduate students, from Miami-Dade in Florida, to undertake their graduate studies in an interactive way. We had developed the software based on sociocultural – dialogic theory – to promote verbal interactions that would heighten and expand learning possibilities. After a year or two of development at the University of Pennsylvania there was some initial interest from a scholar in the Wharton school – but the interest waned and competing on the best software, principally Blackboard, began to monopolize the market. With the economic emphases on development I ceased my involvement in this project.

I was concerned with my own theoretical development as a scholar and decided to expand my understanding of cultural sociology in particular and other areas that were germane to the work I was doing in urban schools – such as African American psychology. I decided to register for courses at Penn so that I would engage seriously in learning and situate myself with greater expertise in terms of the use of sociocultural theory. I studied several courses with Diana Crane-Herve, http://sociology.sas.upenn.edu/d_crane and one very interesting course with Howard Stevenson https://scholar.gse.upenn.edu/stevenson. Oddly enough some of the administrators at Penn strongly discouraged me from taking doctoral level courses for credit within my own graduate school. Obviously I disagree strongly with this stance. One of the key features/bonuses of being in the University is having the opportunity to learn from colleagues through formal and informal channels. I was reminded of the grant administrator from the Florida Department of Education who once chided me – "why should I fund graduate courses for teachers in high schools and community colleges when your colleagues at the University will not enroll for credit in the same courses?" It was a good point that I never forgot. It is surprising that there are not "use by" date stamps on the degrees we label as terminal!

The research project “Teaching and learning of science in urban high schools” was extremely productive and continued until after I had commenced at the Graduate Center in New York. The study had numerous features including the education/development on the number of teacher researchers who completed graduate degrees and took up university appointments. The research also included a number of student researchers who were selected because they were in danger of dropping out of high school. The students not only remained in high school, but in most cases went on to college and their success stories are an ongoing focus of interest – more than a dozen years after the project began. Rowhea Elmesky, who had been a graduate student who worked with me at Florida State University, joined the project as a postdoctoral research fellow. She did amazing research at Penn before earning promotion and tenure at Washington University in St. Louis.

Selected publications

The associated publications arising from the research undertaken at the University of Pennsylvania from 1997 until the fall of 2003 yielded 7 books, 28 journal articles, and 29 book chapters.

Books

07. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (Eds). (2005). Teaching together, learning together. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

06. Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., & Seiler, G. (Eds). (2005). Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers. NY: Rowman, & Littlefield.

05.  Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2002).  At the elbows of another: Learning to teach through coteaching.  New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

04. Taylor, P., Gilmer, P., & Tobin, K. (Eds) (2002). Transforming undergraduate science teaching:  Social constructivist perspectives. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

03. Roth, W.-M., Tobin, K., & Ritchie, S., (2001). Re/constructing elementary science. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

02. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (Eds). (2005). Teaching together, learning together. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

01. Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., & Seiler, G. (Eds). (2005). Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers. NY: Rowman, & Littlefield.

Journals

28. Tobin, K., & Roth, W-M. (2005). Implementing coteaching and cogenerative dialoguing in urban science education. School Science and Mathematics, 105, 313-322.

27. Elmesky, R., & Tobin, K. (2005). Expanding our understandings of urban science education by expanding the roles of students as researchers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 807-828.

26. Tobin, K. (2005). Building enacted science curricula on the capital of learners. Science Education, 89, 577-594.

25. Roth, W-M., Tobin, K., Carambo, C., & Dalland, C. (2005). Producing alignment in coteaching. Science Education, 89, 675-702.

24. Roth, W-M. Tobin, K., Carambo, C., & Dalland, C. (2004). Coteaching: Creating resources for learning and learning to teach chemistry in urban high schools. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 882-904.

23. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2004, February). Cogenerative dialoguing and metaloguing: Reflexivity of processes and genres. [35 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 5(3). Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs/fqs-eng.htm.

22. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2004). Coteaching: From praxis to theory. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 10(2), 161-180.

21. Roth, W-M. Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., Carambo, C., McKnight, Y., & Beers, J. (2004). Re/making identities in the praxis of urban schooling: A cultural historical perspective. Mind, Culture and Activity, 11, 48-69.

20.  Tobin, K., Zurbano, R., Ford, A., & Carambo, C. (2003).  Learning to teach through coteaching and cogenerative dialogue.  Cybernetics, & Human Knowing 10, 51-73. 

19.  Seiler, G., Tobin, K., & Sokolic, J. (2003).  Reconstituting resistance in urban science education.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 101-103.

18.  Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2002).  Peer review in science education: An introduction.  Research in Science Education, 32, 127-134.

17.  Barton, A. C., & Tobin, K. (2002). Learning about transformative research through others' stories:  What does it mean to involve "others" in science education reform?  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 110-113.

16.  Tobin, K., & Roth, W-M. (2002). Concerning the fallibility of judgments from the side, the rear, and on high:  A dialogue about Scriven’s critique. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education,16, 307-314.

15.  Roth, W.-M., & Tobin, K. (2002). Redesigning an "urban" teacher education program: An activity theory perspective. Mind, Culture, & Activity, 9 (2), 108-131.

14.  Tobin, K., & Roth, W-M. (2002). The contradictions in science education peer review and possibilities for change. Research in Science Education, 32, 269-280. 

13.  Tobin, K. (2002).  The multiple faces of peer review in science education.  Research in Science Education, 32, 135-156.

12.  Roth, W-M., Tobin, K., & Zimmermann, A. (2002). Coteaching/cogenerative dialoguing: learning environments research as classroom praxis.  Learning Environments Research, 5, 1-28.

11.  Roth, W-M., Tobin, K., Zimmermann, A., Bryant, N., & Davis, C. (2002). Lessons on/from the dihybrid cross: An activity theoretical study of learning in coteaching.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 253-282.

10.  Gallagher, J. J., Tobin, K. G., & Barton, A. C. (2001).  Preface.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 1063-1064.

09.  Barton, A. C., Tobin, K., & Gallagher, J. (2001).  Preface.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 981-982.

08.  Barton, A. C., & Tobin, K. (2001). Preface: Urban science education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 843-846.

07. Tobin, K. (2001). Learning/knowing how to teach science in urban high schools.  Educational Horizons, fall, 41-45.

06. Tobin, K., Roth W-M., & Zimmermann, A. (2001).  Learning to teach in urban schools.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 941-964.

05. Seiler G., Tobin, K., & Sokolic J. (2001). Design, technology and science: Sites for learning, resistance and social reproduction in urban schools.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 746-767.

04. Roth W-M., & Tobin, K. (2001). Learning to teach science as practice. Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 741-762.

03.  Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2001). The Implications of coteaching/cogenerative dialogue for teacher evaluation: Learning from multiple perspectives of everyday practice. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 15, 7-29.

02.  Roth, W.-M., Lawless, D., & Tobin, K. (2001). Time to teach: Toward a praxeology of teaching. Canadian Journal of Education, 25(1), 1-15.

 01.  Ritchie, S. M., & Tobin, K. (2001).  Actions and discourses for transformative understanding in a middle school science class.  International Journal of Science Education. 23, 283-299.

Chapters

29. Tobin, K. (2005).  Becoming an urban science educator. In W-M Roth (Ed). Auto/biography and auto/ethnography: Praxis of research method (pp. 181-203). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

28. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2005). Introduction. In W-M Roth and K. Tobin (Eds). Teaching together, learning together (pp. ix-xviii). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

27. Roth, W-M., & Tobin, K. (2005). Coteaching: from praxis to theory. In W-M Roth and K. Tobin (Eds). Teaching together, learning together (pp. 5-26). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

26. Tobin, K. (2005). Exchanging the baton: Exploring the co in coteaching. In W.-M. Roth & K. Tobin (Eds). Teaching together, learning together (pp. 141-161). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

25. Tobin, K, & Roth, W-M. (2005). Coteaching / cogenerative dialoguing in an urban science teacher preparation program. In W-M Roth and K. Tobin (Eds). Teaching together, learning together (pp. 59-77). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

24. Tobin, K, & Roth, W-M. (2005). Epilogue. In W-M Roth and K. Tobin (Eds). Teaching together, learning together (pp. 249-263). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

23. Tobin, K. (2005). Urban science as a culturally and socially adaptive practice. In K. Tobin, R. Elmesky, & G. Seiler (Eds). Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers (pp. 21-42). NY: Rowman, & Littlefield.

22. Tobin, K. (2005). Transforming the future while learning from the past. In K. Tobin, R. Elmesky, & G. Seiler (Eds). Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students and researchers (pp. 299-319). NY: Rowman, & Littlefield.

21. Tobin, K. (2004). Teaching science in urban high schools: When the rubber hits the road. In R. Yerrick, & W-M. Roth (eds). Establishing scientific classroom discourse communities: Multiple voices of research on teaching and learning (pp. 265-286). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

20. Tobin, K., Yerrick, R., & Roth W-M. (2004). Expanding agency and changing social structures. In R. Yerrick, & W-M. Roth (eds). Establishing scientific classroom discourse communities: Multiple voices of research on teaching and learning (pp. 287-291). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

19.  Tobin, K. (2003).  Teaching science in urban high schools.  In  J. Wallace, & J. Loughran,  Leadership and professional development in science education: New possibilities for enhancing teacher learning (pp. 34-47).  London:  RoutledgeFalmer Publishers.

18.  Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., & Carambo, C. (2002).  Learning environments in urban science classrooms: Contradictions, conflict and the reproduction of social inequality.  In  S. C Goh, & S. K. Myint (Eds). Studies in educational learning environment: An international perspective (pp. 101-129).  Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.

17. Tobin, K., & Roth, W-M. (2002). Evaluation of science teaching performance through coteaching and cogenerative dialoguing.  In J. Altschuld, & D. Kumar (Eds). Evaluation in science education in the 21st century (pp. 187-217). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

16. Tobin, K. (2002). Learning to teach science using the internet to connect communities of learners. In Taylor, P., Gilmer, P., & Tobin, K. (Eds). Transforming undergraduate science teaching:  Social constructivist perspectives (pp. 323-348). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

15. Roth, W.-M., & Tobin, K. (2002) College physics teaching: From boundary work to border crossing and community building. In Taylor, P., Gilmer, P., & Tobin, K. (Eds). Transforming undergraduate science teaching:  Social constructivist perspectives (pp. 145-180). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

14.  Tobin, K. (2002).  Beyond the bold rhetoric of reform: (Re)Learning to teach science appropriately.  In W-M. Roth and J. Desautels. Science education as/for sociopolitical action (pp. 125-150). NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

13. Tobin, K. (2001). Both/and perspectives on the nature of science.  In J. Wallace, & W. Louden, (Eds.), Dilemmas of science teaching: Perspectives on problems of practice (pp. 15-18).  London: RoutledgeFalmer.

12. Tobin, K. (2000).  Catalysing changes in research on learning environments: Regional Editor’s introduction.  Learning Environments Research: An International Journal, 2, 223-224.

11. Roth, W-M., Lawless, D. V., & Tobin, K. (2000). {Coteaching | Cogenerative Dialoguing} as praxis of dialectic method. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research [On-line Journal], 1(3). Available at:

http://qualitative-research.net/fqs/fqs-eng.htm [Date of access: Month Day, Year].

10.  Tobin, K. (2000).  Becoming an urban science educator.  Research in Science Education, 30(1), 89-106.

09. Tobin, K. (2000).  Interpretive research in science education.  In A. E. Kelly, & R. Lesh (Eds.), Handbook of research design in mathematics and science education (pp. 487-512).  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

08. Tobin, K. (2000).  Constructivism in science education: Moving on … In D. C. Phillips, Constructivism in education, (NSSE Yearbook, pp. 227-253). Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.

07.  Goh, S.W., & Tobin, K. (1999). Student and teacher perspectives in a computer-mediated learning environment in teacher education. Learning Environment Research: An International Journal, 2, 169-190.

06.  Tobin, K. (1999).  The value to science education of teachers researching their own praxis.  Research in Science Education, 29, 159-169

05.  Tobin, K., Seiler, G., & Walls, E.  (1999). Reproduction of social class in the teaching and learning of science in urban high schools. Research in Science Education, 29, 171-187.

04.  Tobin, K. (1999). The Internet as a tool for the reform of science teacher education: Transformative agent or catalyst for cultural reproduction? [Internet como instrumento de formación de los maestros de ciencias: ¿Agente transformador o catalizador de la reproducción cultural?.] Enseñanza de las Ciencias 17(2), 155-164.

03.  Tobin, K., Seiler, G., & Smith, M. W.  (1999). Educating Science Teachers for the Sociocultural Diversity of Urban Schools Research in Science Education, 29, 68-88.

02.  Tobin, K. (1999).  Teachers as researchers and researchers as teachers.  Research in Science Education, 29, 1-3.

01. Tobin, K. (1998). Qualitative perceptions of learning environments on the world wide web. Learning Environment Research: An International Journal, 1, 139-162.

Academic award for publication

Improving Urban Science Education: New Roles for Teachers, Students, and Researchers Edited by Kenneth Tobin, Rowhea Elmesky, and Gale Seiler 

Series: Reverberations: Contemporary Curriculum and Pedagogy (Rowman and Littlefield 2005). This book received the CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Title 2005: "Selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important--often the first treatment of their subject." Choice Magazine, January 2007.

Grants Obtained While at The University of Pennsylvania (1997-2003)

1.         1998-99. Voices from the inside: A study of secondary teacher education.  Small research grant from the Spencer Foundation ($34,795).

2.         1999-2004. Teacher enhancement in chemistry:  Creation of a master in chemical education program for secondary school teachers in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. ESI-9911825; Co-PI $618,727 (five year grant Co-PI with Hai-Lung Dai) National Science Foundation.

3.         1999-2002. GK-12 Access Science: Tomorrow’s scientists assisting in-service and pre-service teachers and their students. ($ 1,497,902, DUE-9979635 senior faculty associate with Dennis DeTurck as PI) National Science Foundation.

4.         2000-2001. Learning to teach science in urban settings through coteaching. Small research grant from the Spencer Foundation ($35,000).

5.         2001-2005. Teaching and learning of science in urban high schools. REC-0107022; PI ($1,161,356).  National Science Foundation.

Doctoral students

During 1997-2003 I supervised doctoral students from Penn as well as from the science education program at Curtin University. All of these doctoral students were involved with collaborative work with me in the time I was at Penn. The doctoral candidates interacted and learned together -- there was no distinction between scholars based on which university was awarding the degree.

Gale Seiler and Stacy Olitsky received “best dissertation” awards from professional organizations.

University of Pennsylvania

01. Gale Seiler (University of Pennsylvania, spring 2002). A critical look at teaching, learning, and learning to teach science in an inner city, neighborhood high school. Associate Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

02. Melissa Sterba (University of Pennsylvania, summer 2003). Respect, struggle and change: Examining the agency of African American female adolescents in city schools. VP for Student Affairs, & Services, New York University. New York, NY.

03. Dale McCreedy (University of Pennsylvania, summer 2003). Negotiating meaning and identity in science teaching and learning through participation in an informal science program for girls. Program Director, Franklin Institute Science Museum. Philadelphia, PA.

04. Beth Wassell (University of Pennsylvania, spring 2004) On becoming an urban teacher: Exploring agency through the journey of student to first year practitioner. Associate professor, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.

05. Sarah-Kate LaVan (University of Pennsylvania, summer 2004). Cogenerating fluency in urban science classrooms. Michigan Department of Education.

06. Kimberly Lebak (University of Pennsylvania, spring 2005) Connecting outdoor field experiences to classroom learning: A qualitative study of the participation of students and teachers in learning science. Associate Professor, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, NJ.

07. Stacy Olitsky (University of Pennsylvania, summer 2005). What are the differences in teaching practices and student learning when science teachers teach subjects that are “within-field/out-of-field”? Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.

Curtin University

01. Judith McGonigal (Curtin University, summer 2000). Reforming elementary science through the coparticipation of educators, parents, and students. Elementary teacher, New Jersey (retired).

02. Sonya Martin (Curtin University, spring 2005) The social and cultural dimensions of successful teaching and learning of science in an urban high school. Assistant professor, Earth Science Education Department, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea.

03. Linda Loman Flohr (Curtin University, fall 2005) The impact of cogenerative dialogue on learning and teaching practices in and out of field in an 8th grade physical science classroom. Physics Teacher, Glenwood Springs High School, CO.

04. Cristobal Carambo (Curtin University, fall 2012). Inquiry and the development of scientific fluency in the urban high school. Science teacher, School District of Philadelphia, PA.  

© Kenneth Tobin 2015