Kathleen Ruen

BA, MA, Sarah Lawrence College. PhD, New York University. Special interest in connections between teaching and creating artwork. Former teacher and assistant director, Central Park East I Elementary. Grant writer, Center for Arts and Education, New York City. Founder and Artistic Director of Undermine, Under One Roof Theatre, Tribeca, New York City. SLC, 2003—

Current graduate courses

Advisement and Practicum Seminars

Year

The theme of the Advisement Seminar is to explore the connections between early childhood education, childhood education, and the ongoing education of teachers in the content disciplines. The seminar begins with observations of the very youngest children to help us begin to frame continuities and differences. Faculty from the Early Childhood Center and the undergraduate liberal arts faculty help us to think about learning as an ongoing process across ages and stages of development, leading sessions devoted to curriculum and its evolution both for children in classrooms and for us as teachers. We consider intercultural perspectives and themes related to teaching in a diverse society; view videos and films of children in classrooms engaged in drawing, writing, reading, imaginative play, and social-studies explorations; read source material in the content disciplines; and engage in hands-on explorations.

Faculty

Advisement and Practicum Seminars

Year

The Practicum Seminar is a yearlong course that supports early childhood and childhood student-teaching experiences and provides opportunities to draw together the ideas, processes, and approaches in early childhood and childhood teaching practice, curriculum development, and instructional planning across content disciplines in prekindergarten through grade two settings and in grades one-through-six classrooms. Issues and questions that arise in student teaching and continue to be present in classrooms and schools will be explored. These include the role of observation and documentation as they inform assessments of children’s learning and of teaching itself; the creation of learning environments for children from birth through grade two and in grades one through six, inclusive of all children across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and learning differences; the development of approaches that enable continuity for children between home and school and in their school lives; the development of classrooms as communities of learners; and the exploration of the teacher’s role and approaches to classroom organization and structure that relate to very young and elementary-age children. Other topics of importance in the course are the creation of opportunities and processes for collaboration among teachers, parents, and administrators and the development of strategies to reflect on, renew, and revise teaching with an emphasis on the importance of professional development. The “Practicum Seminar” also supports students in their continued efforts to understand the political nature of teaching, placing emphasis on educating for a democratic society. The roles of the family, school, and community in educating children are explored, as well as  current philosophies and climate regarding home, school, and community relationships. Practicum Seminar students will keep a reflective journal of their field placement and student-teaching experiences, including observation and documentation of children, classrooms, activities, curriculum planning and facilitation, materials, and media. Students will also begin to develop, refine, and share their thinking regarding their master’s project topics.

Faculty

Emergent Curriculum I and II: The Child as Meaning Maker

In this two-semester course, children’s interests and approaches to learning across early childhood and childhood are emphasized in developing curricula with multiple entry points. We will reflect on ways of knowing in our own learning and that of the children, exploring teaching strategies that value, as well as expand, children’s knowledge and modes of thinking and learning. We will discuss how children’s interests and questions connect to the large ideas and questions at the core of the subject-matter disciplines with emphasis on Social Studies, Science, the Arts and Humanities. Central to the course is understanding how to create a curriculum that is driven by ideas—striving for wholeness, integration, coherence, meaning—and focused on assisting children in applying knowledge and thinking to real-life problems.

We discuss curriculum and teaching strategies for individual subject areas, with focus on the connections among disciplines, building towards an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum and instruction.  During each semester we will also engage in hands-on inquiry in a workshop setting, reflecting on our own learning and that of our peers.  Through this process implications are drawn forward regarding the teacher’s role in accommodating differing approaches to learning.

Faculty

Previous courses

Emergent Curriculum: The Child as Meaning Maker

This two-semester course, in which children’s interests and approaches to learning across early childhood and childhood, are emphasized in developing curricula with multiple entry points. We will reflect on ways of knowing in our own learning and that of the children, exploring teaching strategies that value, as well as expand, children’s knowledge and modes of thinking and learning. We will discuss how children’s interests and questions connect to the large ideas and questions at the core of the subject-matter disciplines. Central to the course is understanding how to create a curriculum that is driven by ideas—striving for wholeness, integration, coherence, meaning—and focused on assisting children in applying knowledge and thinking to real-life problems.

Faculty

Foundations of Education: An Exploration of Meaningful Learning and Teaching from Plato to the Present

This course will begin with a reflection on philosophical approaches to teaching and learning, as we investigate the implications of learning as acquisition, manifestation, and transaction. Students will read excerpts from the historical writings of Plato, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel to better understand the roots of meaningful teaching and learning as exemplified in modern educational thought. We will then turn to a review of the history of public schooling in the United States, considering the role of education in a democratic society, as conceptualized by educational leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, and John Dewey. We will examine the challenges and achievements of public education from colonial times to the present, with special emphasis on Dewey’s educational philosophy and practice and its impact on American education, as well as its relevance for contemporary practice. From this vantage point, we will then explore a series of issues facing educators today, as we consider perspectives on meaningful education for a diverse society and views of the learning process in contemporary culture, including philosophical and political implications and variations in classroom experience and practice. Students will keep a journal of reflections on their readings, together with a collection of relevant articles from newspapers and periodicals concerning current educational issues, and write a major paper focusing on their own educational values.

Faculty

Foundations of Education: An Exploration of Meaningful Learning and Teaching from Plato to the Present - Graduate

This course will begin with a reflection on philosophical approaches to teaching and learning, as we investigate the implications of learning as acquisition, manifestation, and transaction. Students will read excerpts from the historical writings of Plato, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel to better understand the roots of meaningful teaching and learning as exemplified in modern educational thought. We will then turn to a review of the history of public schooling in the United States, considering the role of education in a democratic society, as conceptualized by educational leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, and John Dewey. We will examine the challenges and achievements of public education from colonial times to the present, with special emphasis on Dewey’s educational philosophy and practice and its impact on American education, as well as its relevance for contemporary practice. From this vantage point, we will then explore a series of issues facing educators today, as we consider perspectives on meaningful education for a diverse society and views of the learning process in contemporary culture, including philosophical and political implications and variations in classroom experience and practice. Students will keep a journal of reflections on their readings, together with a collection of relevant articles from newspapers and periodicals concerning current educational issues, and write a major paper focusing on their own educational values.

Faculty

Observation and Documentation

In the Art of Teaching program, we place the observation and documentation of children and their learning at the center of teaching. The emphasis is on seeing every child as capable, unique, and knowable and on children as active makers of their own meaning and knowledge. Observing is focused on what the child can do and is interested in and on how each child thinks and learns. We assume that teachers make knowledge of teaching and learning through longitudinal observation and documentation of each child as thinker and learner. This knowledge is the foundation for curriculum development and instructional planning that accommodate individual interests and approaches to learning. The ideas and processes developed at Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, by Patricia Carini and others, will be the foundation of the work throughout the course. The Prospect Descriptive Processes and, in particular, the Descriptive Review of the Child will give students a formal and systematic framework for drawing together their observations of children over time. In addition, the review processes developed at Prospect Center will be discussed as avenues for collaborative inquiry and meaning-making among educators and parents. Students will participate in a Descriptive Review and will review longitudinal collections of children’s work. They will also learn about descriptive inquiry processes for reviewing curriculua and teaching practice. Students will share observations of children in early childhood and childhood education settings and develop a language of description. We will discuss the importance of creating classrooms where each child is visible through strength. Students will develop a child study that includes: a description of the child using the headings of the Descriptive Review, a collection of the child’s work, and reflections on the implications that the longitudinal documentation of the child holds for teaching.

Faculty