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Learning Sciences (LS)

The Learning Sciences community includes faculty and students with interests in pedagogy; emotions and mindfulness in education; and social, cultural and economic issues, contexts and challenges in education. The goal of the learning sciences is to improve formal and informal learning environments based on principles of social justice and equality. To achieve that goal, we strive to understand interdisciplinary conditions and processes that facilitate human learning and teaching. Areas of expertise and interests of students and faculty include wellness practices, special education, lifelong learning, agency, critical numeracy, the role of arts in learning, creativity, cultural mediation, and research into distributed, situated and embodied cognition and emotion. We include informal education as a central focus  of our research – including the learning environments afforded by museums, zoos, and parks. We also take seriously the practice of lifelong learning across the birth through death spectrum in contexts from the personal to the institutional including in homes, schools, prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, and recreational centers. The learning sciences draw upon research methods and knowledges from various disciplines such as critical pedagogy and geography, cultural sociology, sociology of emotions, critical race studies, disability-as-difference approach, cultural and social psychology, neurosciences, design studies, cognitive anthropology, and educational psychology. The intersection of formerly separate domains affords new ways of thinking about learning that allow design, cognition and social cognition to affect learning and teaching in formal and informal settings in urban communities. The structures of the strand support scholarship in the Learning Sciences through advanced seminars in the formal curriculum, weekend seminars, and collaborative research activities.

The Learning Science strand is for educators and other individuals with an interest in knowledge and learning and being examined through critical sociocultural lenses. These lenses consider issues and challenges that are mediated by culture, class, race, differential ability, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and wellness and their relationship to all levels of social life.

Advanced seminar topics and independent study offerings in Learning Sciences include:

  • Researching and Educating for Wellness, Health and Sustainability
  • Learning Sciences teaching and learning
  • Learning Sciences teacher education
  • policy in Learning Sciences education
  • teaching and learning Learning Sciences in out-of-school settings
  • Learning Sciences and sense of place
  • lifelong learning
  • cross-generational, community-based Learning Sciences knowledge

Recent dissertations in Learning Sciences Education

  • Don't quantify my students!  A multilectical approach to pedagogy and the teaching of language arts.
  • Intervening to enhance mindfulness in urban education contexts.
  • Learning and identity (trans)formation in Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • The transmission of cultural values through musical learning for children of Mexican communities in the New York metropolitan region.
  • Teaching teachers in halls of learning.
  • Finding light in the caves: Achieving personal and professional bliss on a journey in Cheeseworld.
  • Mindfulness: a powerful framework for improving science teaching and learning.
  • Creating resources for prospective elementary teachers to enhance their mindfulness.
  • Educational purpose in an urban Community College.
  • How do we meet the challenge of mathematics coaching in urban schools? A study of coaching in NYC schools.
  • Transformative science education through action research and self-study practices.