Living and Learning

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Center on History and Education

Teachers College, Columbia University

Living and Learning: The History of Education in New York City

A collaboration with Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

Living and Learning: The History of Education in New York City is a collaboration between Professor Bette Weneck of Teachers College, Center on History and Education and Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), formerly known as the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. The Living and Learning project supports Professor Weneck's course, The History of Education in New York City, which considers the social histories of different groups, including African Americans and members of European, Latino, and Asian populations who lived and worked in New York neighborhoods and attended and shaped its educational and cultural institutions. While these populations attended the public schools in great numbers, they learned in a number of other educational settings at the neighborhood and community level.

Living and Learning examines this broader history of education in New York City through case studies of the neighborhood branches of the New York Public Library (NYPL). Since the turn of the twentieth century, the branch libraries have served diverse learners across age levels within the changing social, cultural, economic, and political contexts of New York neighborhood life. The project supports two broad questions central to the course: How does understanding the history of school groups within a comprehensive urban experience make educational issues surrounding diversity more explicit? How do we better understand how public schools function and meet (or do not meet) the needs and expectations of different school populations when we place the schools within a broad local context of teaching and learning experiences?

The project includes the development of archival exhibitions on EdBlogs, based on students’ research documenting the history of education through the lens of the branch libraries. A video exploring how archival research is used as a teaching tool in the course is currently in production at CTL.

Living and Learning is in support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded to Columbia Teachers College, Center on History and Education.

Published Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015