Noah Rubin

Lecturer in Education

Research on teacher education, urban education, teacher and youth participatory action research, and the unity of theory and practice in education.

The heart of my work in education is an attempt to make the words of A. S. Neill, “THOU SHALT BE ON THE CHILD’S SIDE” a reality. My work has taken me from New York City, to Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and now here to Wellesley. I began my journey as an educator in New York City's Spanish Harlem, where I was a middle school teacher for 10 years. During that time I also worked as a cooperating teacher supervising student teachers from my alma mater, Bank Street College of Education. Through Bank Street and in East Harlem I became a passionate advocate for urban children and began my work on such areas as social and emotional learning, child and adolescent development, anti-bias education with an emphasis on LGBTQI issues, action research, and progressive and constructivist educational theory, practice, and history. I still have a special place in my heart for Spanish Harlem and urban children, teachers, and schools in general.

At Harvard, and in my current research, I focus on indigenous school reform efforts including the enactment of Action Research by students and teachers. My recent writing has explored the "art of action research pedagogy" and the work teacher educators do to help teachers learn to carry out research in their own classrooms or schools. Over the last decade I spent a good deal of time working with new teachers in the Harvard Teacher Education program and for much of that time I also taught child and adolescent development at HGSE.

One of my greatest joys is working to support the learning projects that students originate and pursue. I encourage students to visit me in office hours or to make appointments and am committed to making learning in my courses both inspiring and real. Because of this I work to include the voices of real students and teachers in most sessions and use texts, films, radio segments, documentaries, and fiction to draw as close to the realities of schooling as possible. Issues of social justice undergird my teaching and I try to keep an eye on both the innovation and joy in education, what McLaren calls the “Hope,” and the roadblocks and sadness, which we call the “Rage” (2006). In my Understanding and Improving Schools course (EDUC 215) I focus largely on schools that show us how profoundly joyful and rigorous learning can be. We also explore a whole range of innovations that have made the lives of those in schools better. My courses are full of usable pedagogical methods and I work to help student see themselves as teacher/students and student/teachers. As director of Elementary education, I work hard to make sure students have a deep experience with real children and schools. Developing the tools Wellesley elementary teachers need to be educational leaders and take joy in working with children are also vital areas of concern for me.

I currently live with my wife and son in Jamaica Plain, Boston and lately spend a good deal of time learning about child development from my little boy. In my personal life, and spilling over into my professional attire, I have a thirty-five year devotion to the clothing of the 1930’s and can often be seen wearing a bowtie.


  • B.A., Sarah Lawrence College
  • M.S., Bank Street College of Education
  • Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education

Current and upcoming courses

  • This course is supervised student teaching, and curriculum development in students' teaching fields throughout the semester. Attendance at an appropriate school placement is required, with regular observations and conferencing.
  • This small seminar engages students in the study and observation of teaching in all its dimensions, including the role of the teacher, the nuances of classroom interactions, and individual and group learning. Careful examination of curriculum materials and classroom practice in specific teaching fields in order to guide practice and to develop students’ diverse perspectives. Students also learn about teacher research and the process of gathering data and acting to improve learning.
  • This introductory seminar engages students in a series of explorations that illuminate the field of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), which is one of the most exciting areas of teaching and learning in U.S. schools and around the world. Students explore how social, emotional, and academic learning can be interwoven with what we understand about child and youth development, and how these ideas can inform pedagogy (teaching) in k-12 settings. Students also uncover how social and emotional learning is bound together with struggles for youth civic participation, social justice, and efforts to dismantle structural oppression in a range of educational sites and in society. Through a variety of different activities and learning structures the course provides students with multiple opportunities to explore their own social emotional educations and participate in the creation of new ways to engage young people and adults in joyful learning, celebrating identities, emotional and physical thriving, social justice, and healing.