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An Inquiring Mind


Sam Shreyar

Sam Shreyar

"If you ask me, the first thing I would like to do in my spare time is go to the playground with my two-year-old daughter," says Sam Shreyar, Assistant Professor of Education in Early Childhood Education. 

These aren't just the words of a devoted dad. Shreyar, who worked as a special education teacher and an assistant professor of early childhood education at City College and Lehman College before coming to TC this semester, has a passion for working with kids to give them new ways to think and inquire about the world around them. As kids make their inquiries in the classroom and begin to have conversations with their teachers, Shreyar wants to listen to the conversation, see where the teacher goes with it, and when something works really well, he wants to share that success story with others. 

"What drives me in this work is seeing teachers do amazing things and figuring out how they did it and finding a way to make that public," he explains. 

Shreyar received both his master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education and his Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching (specializing in early childhood education) from Teachers College. While he was pursuing his doctorate, he taught curriculum design and "Evolution of Early Childhood Teaching Strategies in a Social Context," and supervised pre-service student teachers. 

Somehow he's also found time to teach mathematics to fifth and sixth grade children in the Bronx one or two days a week. Influenced by his wife, who is a professor of mathematics at Brooklyn College, he uses Realistic Mathematics Education (RME), a somewhat Deweyan approach developed at the Freudenthal Institute at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The focus of RME, which has been used successfully in Holland for decades, is a guided reinvention process, in which teachers encourage students to develop their own informal methods for doing mathematics to solve a real-life problem. 

When time allows, Shreyar loves to travel to his wife's family's home in Buenos Aires, where he enjoys the people, food and wine, as well as the country's deep tradition of sitting and playing guitar.

Look for upcoming profiles of new faculty members in upcoming issues of Inside.

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