Developing an Inquiry Stance Toward Teaching

My Context

About Me

I am a Professor at The School of Education, The City College of New York. Before coming to City College, I was a classroom teacher, director of an early childhood center, the founder and principal of a New York City public elementary school, a consultant to schools, districts, and states, and the Associate Director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST), at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In addition to teaching the Teacher Research Course described in this website, I teach a course on Language and Literacy Development, am the Program Head of the Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education, and the Editor of The New Educator journal. Among my publications are the text I use for this course: The Power of Questions: A Guide to Teacher and Student Research, co-authored with Megan Blumenreich (Heinemann, 2005). More information about me can be found on my faculty website. I can be reached at

About My Students

Those enrolled in the Graduate Program in Early Childhood Education reflect New York City's incredible mosaic. Some are native New Yorkers and some come from literally around the world: the Carribean, Central and South America, Phillipines, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Predominantly women, most attend classes while working, sometimes in school settings but also in non-educational jobs. Many are the products of the same urban schools/communities in which they intend to teach.

About My Institution

The City College of New York, located in Harlem, New York City, is the oldest of The City University of New York's (CUNY) 11 senior colleges. It was created in 1847 as a public institution to provide access to higher education to New York City's working and immigrant population. With four professional schools - Architecture, Education, Engineering, and Medicine - City College is really a small university.

There are about 12,000 students enrolled in City College. They include recent high school graduates as well as working adults, immigrants as well as natives, poor as well as middle class. In 2003, U.S. News and World Report ranked the campus as the most diverse in the nation. More than half of the student population is foreign born and 88 foreign languages are spoken.

About My Program

I teach in The Graduate Program in Early Childhood Education. It serves about 150-200 teacher learners, preparing them with the skills and knowledge to nurture the growth and development of children ages birth through 8. Graduates learn to support children's understandings of the world through inquiry and active learning and to create environments that build on children's strengths and cultural wealth. The program emphasizes deep knowledge of human development, learning processes, instructional strategies, and subject matter. All courses utilize technology and focus on how teaching, learning, and assessment connect. Special attention is given to how issues of diversity - of culture, language, family, and learning styles - can best be used to positively impact schools and schooling in urban settings.

Principles of My Teaching

I try to model the teaching strategies that I want my teacher learners to use with their students. Please click on this link for explanation of the big ideas that undergird my teaching.

"I have learned many things from teachers; I have learned many things from my friends; but I have learned even more from my students."

-----The Talmud

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