Teaching and Teacher Education

Tamara Shreiner

Tamara Shreiner is a history and social science teacher and department chair at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor. She graduated with a PhD in Educational Studies in 2009. Her dissertation, Framing a Model of Democratic Thinking to Inform Teaching and Learning in Civic Education, began to identify and describe the cognitive components underlying problem solving and decision-making in a democracy by analyzing and comparing how high school students and civically and politically engaged political scientists grapple with controversial issues.

After graduating, she began teaching 8th grade civics and 10th grade world history at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor. Going back into the classroom has provided her with the opportunity to apply and reflect upon the research-based practices she studied in her doctoral program, including those she suggested in her dissertation.

Teaching and teacher education are at the center of the educational enterprise. The development of young people in our society depends on the skill, knowledge, and caring of practicing professionals. Attending to the quality of schooling is fundamental to concerns for equity, opportunity, and the growth of human potential. In recent years, both teaching and the professional education designed to develop it have come under fire. Graduate study in teaching and teacher education at the University of Michigan prepares accomplished scholars, teachers, and leaders with the knowledge and skill to develop and improve practice in disciplined ways. Distinguished by our close connections to practice in schools and in programs of teacher education, our faculty works closely with graduate students to prepare them to contribute to the quality of professional practice and policy at the K- 12 level, as well as in the education and development of practicing professionals.

The doctoral concentration in Teaching and Teacher Education prepares graduate students as scholars for work in practice, research, and policy. Students develop their own research questions and emphases while working collaboratively with other students and faculty. The program is an intensive one in which students engage in practice and scholarship alongside nationally recognized specialists in their field.

Doctoral students in Teaching and Teacher Education take a common set of core courses, dealing with the practice and scholarship of teaching and teacher education (broadly defined to include professional development across the lifespan), and policy contexts of professional education. They also select electives from other areas, and from programs and departments outside the School of Education. While some focus on teaching and teacher education in particular school subjects, others consider issues common across subject matter boundaries. In addition, we engage our students in a practicum experience in teacher education on campus and in schools to provide focused opportunities to learn to use what they are learning in programs of teacher education. Our faculty is engaged in a wide variety of projects, within the school and nationally and internationally. Hence, myriad opportunities exist for graduate students to gain professional knowledge and skill through their involvement in these projects.

Teachers are central to the quality of students' opportunities to learn in schools. Teaching is a complex practice, requiring substantial knowledge and skill, and involving relationships not only with learners, but with other professionals, parents, and community members. Debates over professionalism of teaching and about the challenges of equity and diversity shape teacher education as a field today. Central to this doctoral specialization is attention to these contemporary issues with a particular focus on the work of teaching, on learning to teach, and on the ongoing development of teachers and teaching across the lifespan. The study of teaching and teacher education is rooted in close attention to the demands and nature of practice. Faculty members also investigate a variety of contexts for teacher development, from formal programs of teacher education and professional development, to the organization of schools and teacher networks and groups. Opportunities to learn more about teaching, about teacher learning and teacher development, and about professional education are the cornerstones of our doctoral program in Teaching and Teacher Education.

This concentration is housed within the Educational Studies program, which fosters links among students and faculty in a number of specializations sharing a commitment to the integration of theory and research on teaching, learning, and educational access in P-12 settings.

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Course planning sheets outline the School of Education course requirements.

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