The Specialization in Detail

1900 Kindergarten Room in Today’s Everett Lounge

The specialization in Teacher Education, suitable for doctoral students who have successfully completed a year of doctoral study and who have some P-12 teaching experience, comprises a set of five courses (including one “selective”) intended to be taken over two years. Courses examine the kinds of learning entailed in learning teaching; problems and contexts of, constraints on, and affordances for learning to teach, and the enterprise of teacher education itself. Guided practice in teacher education and empirical study of learning to teach, and the conduct of teacher education, are core elements of the specialization.

There is no absolute necessity to the course sequence; however, it is recommended that “Guided Practice (Supervision)” and “Learning to Teach” be taken early and that “Teacher Educator as Researcher” be taken late.

Course Sequence

Guided Practice (Supervision) of Novice Elementary and Secondary Teachers (C&T 4051)

usually offered fall

Instructor’s approval required (preference given to students who will concurrently be performing in a supervisory or guidance capacity).

The organizing perspective of this course is supervision as teacher education. Accordingly, core questions are How is teaching learned in and from practice? and How can such learning be fostered? A corrollory to the last question is, How can problems and pitfalls of such learning be anticipated and addressed? In the spirit of this perspective and these questions, the term “guided practice” is generally preferred to “supervision.” Critical analysis of practices, conceptualizations, and structures and locations of supervision/guided practice and related work are central to the work of the course. Some attention is given to other professions in which the challenges of learning a highly contingent practice (and making knowledge) in and from practice feature prominently. As feasible, students document and analyze episodes of their own experiences of guiding practice/supervising. Emphasis is jointly on: continued development of purposeful practices of supervision/guidance, deepened understanding of principles, history, and conflicted contexts of such work. Suitable for: supervisors of preservice student teaching/field experience, cooperating/mentor teachers, in-service coaches, induction facilitators, assistant principals, teacher and instructional leaders of all sorts, teacher educators, scholars of teacher education, and aspiring teacher educators in any context, P – 12.

Learning to Teach and Teacher Education: Vanities and Visions, Dilemmas and Choices (C&T 6xxx*)

usually offered spring

 * Please watch for announcement of actual number assigned to the course.

The course entails critical investigation of a core question for teacher education: What is to be learned when teaching is learned? Also a similar question that is, however, not a mirror image: When teachers are taught to teach, what are they (to be) taught? (And more: by whom, where, when, how, and so forth.) A premise of the course is that all such questions must be understood as normative, not solely empirical. Thus, matters of value, belief, purpose, and justice are bound up in the investigation, and properly so, not as ancillary matters. In tackling these, we will endeavor to get a good grip on an array of antecedent and subsidiary questions, and responses and approaches that have been proposed to the core questions, including the following: How has learning to teach been conceptualized, with what consequences? In what ways might we call learning to teach a problem, and what problems are, perhaps, intrinsic to the undertaking? How have formal knowledges, practical wisdom, stance, disposition, identity, skills, and practices, been proposed as answers to the presenting question, and how do they work as such? How and why does uncertainty come into play in these affairs? How do “theory and practice” come to be invoked, and typically dichotomized, in dealing with such questions, with what consequences? Readings, many of them challenging, include both classic and contemporary discussions of these matters. Students conduct a modest empirical inquiry into the learning of teaching, and frame, conceptualize, and analyze a problem of learning to teach.


Students elect one course from a curated list of possibilities addressing topics such as: discipline and domain specific contexts and practices of teacher education; teacher learning in non-formal settings; social, cultural, political, historical, and/or international contexts of and perspectives on teaching and teacher education; adult learning theory; conceptualizations and framings of children and youth; practitioner research. These courses are drawn from across multiple TC departments. The roster of suitable courses is subject to on-going revision, based on faculty or student recommendation, and as departments change their offerings. The purpose of the selective requirement is to enable students specializing in the scholarship and practice of teacher education to select a course particularly germane to their individual interests, expertise, and professional aspirations.

* Please see Selectives for a roster of courses recommended for satisfaction of the “selective” requirement.

Teacher Education in the US: Histories, Curricula, and Current Issues (C&T 5xxx*)

* Please watch for announcement of actual number assigned to the course.

The course examines how preservice teacher education in the US has been provided, organized, conceptualized, practiced, and governed at various points over the past two centuries—and how it has been criticized, virtually non-stop, over this entire period. We will attend as best we can to parallel developments, counter-currents, and controversies over the same period. We will ground the examination in a brief initial review of structures and curricular arrangements that are or until recently have been typical and/or lauded. We will situate much of the historical examination in primary materials, including records of TE programs and curricula, student and teacher narratives, contemporary policy documents, and textbooks, manuals, and the like. We will also consider salient contexts of teacher education, in particular, the academy, and the often troubled positioning of teacher education with respect to it, and with respect to day to day practices and circumstances of P – 12 schooling and its norms, and key contemporary critiques. We will endeavor throughout to be mindful of concurrent national, racial, and economic projects and social changes. We will conclude with consideration of current controversies and future prospects. In addition to readings (in primary as well as secondary materials), and study of a teacher education curricular feature or issue of individual interest, students will conduct and present collaborative case studies of teacher education programs or initiatives at particular historical moments.

Teacher Educator as Researcher: Inquiry in Teacher Learning (C&T 7xxx*)

* Please watch for announcement of actual number assigned to the course.

Students investigate teacher learning in a site organized for initial and/or continuing professional education of teachers; specifically, a program or project at Teachers College. Each student proposes and conducts an investigation, inquiry, or study in a specific context. Collectively, students and professor serve as a collaborative think-tank and process group: helping each investigator to hone in on a question/problem/inquiry that can be studied in one semester; reading drafts of proposals, relevant literature reviews, and works in progress; and serving as resources for methods dilemmas as they arise. An organizing framework for the study is Teacher Educator as Researcher. Inquiry into teacher learning will be assumed as, a) central to the work of teacher educators, b) a common interest of all participants. 

Please note: The Specialization in Teacher Education is a new initiative. Even more than most programs, it is a work in progress. Curriculum, requirements, and other arrangements are subject to revision over time, as self-study, student feedback, and other circumstances suggest. The offerings and requirements described on these pages are in effect as July 2016. To see earlier versions please click here. As a general rule, students are governed by requirements in effect at the time the specialization is elected. In all cases specialization faculty will work with students to make accommodations when course offerings and/or requirements have changed subsequent to electing the specialization, as we also will for students who began taking teacher education coursework prior to fall of 2015. For advice and assistance on these matters, please email Professor Roosevelt.




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