Debi Khasnabis

Chair, Elementary Teacher Education; Clinical Associate Professor

Debi  Khasnabis, School of Education

Debi Khasnabis teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in multicultural and multilingual education in the Elementary Teacher Education program. Khasnabis is a member of the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative (MSTLC), a strategic partnership between the University of Michigan School of Education and the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She has been involved in several initiatives aimed at designing and enacting collaborative projects between the Ann Arbor Public Schools and SOE Teacher Education programs as a part of this initiative. Khasnabis earned her PhD in educational studies with a concentration in literacy, language, and culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to pursuing doctoral study, she was an upper elementary bilingual teacher in Detroit, Michigan.

Khasnabis’ research on the development of clinical contexts for teacher education is oriented to designing and applying frameworks for collaboration that are responsive to the needs of stakeholders in public school districts and university-based teacher education programs. With colleagues at the SOE and at Mitchell Elementary School and Scarlett Middle School, Khasnabis has written and given presentations on this topic in numerous venues, primarily focusing on the foundational structures that support focused activity in partnership settings and also on distributed mentorship opportunities that partnerships can foster.

Khasnabis also studies the design and enactment of culturally responsive ESL literacy curriculum. This work has primarily been located in the MSTLC partnership setting where she co-coordinates, with Cathy Reischl, a summer ESL program for upper elementary and middle grades English language learners. This project involves the design and study of a program in which teacher education students pursuing an ESL endorsement learn to teach integrated literacy units that draw upon the knowledge bases of family and community members. Khasnabis has partnered with numerous local organizations, including Leslie Science and Nature Center, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and Neutral Zone, to provide innovative and enriching summer learning opportunities for youth. She has presented her research in this area at NCTE, TESOL, and MITESOL and has written about it in various publications.

Lastly, Khasnabis leads the Learning Initiatives for Families and Educators (LIFE) project, initially funded by a $50,000 U-M Third Century Initiative Discovery grant. This project focuses on the preparation of beginning teachers to partner with diverse families and communities. In this area of research, Khasnabis has co-designed and implemented a range of assessments that target interns’ ability to recognize and problematize deficit-oriented perspectives regarding communities of color and interns’ competency in partnering with families and community members. With her colleagues, Khasnabis has presented and written about this research widely.

Khasnabis teaches courses in the following program(s):
Elementary Teacher Education (ELMAC)
Elementary Teacher Education
Literacy, Language, and Culture





9/1/2017 - 8/31/2019 Race, Sense-Making, and Practice in the Co-Construction of Family-School Relations
Granting Agency: Spencer Foundation

9/15/2013 - 9/15/2015 The Family Centered Education Experience: Preparing New Teachers for Understanding and Teaching in Diverse Communities.
Granting Agency: U-M Office of the Provost - Transforming Learning for a Third Century Discovery

2/2/2012 - 1/31/2013 Developing a Fieldwork Component for Elementary Master of Arts with Certification Interns Pursuing an ESL Endorsement
Granting Agency: Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching

Courses & Syllabi

Term Catalogue Course Description Syllabus
Fall 2010 EDUC 401. Developmental Reading and Writing Instruction in the Elementary School EDUC 401. Developmental Reading and Writing In the Elementary Classroom

Winter 2017 EDUC 218. Homelessness in Schools and Society: Engaged Practice in School Serving Organizations EDUC 218. Homelessness in Schools and Society: Engaged Practice in School Serving Organizations

Winter 2014 EDUC 303. Problems and Principles of Elementary Education EDUC 303. Problems and Principles of Elementary Education

Winter 2014 EDUC 301. Directed Teaching in the Elementary Grades EDUC 301. Problems and Principles of Secondary Education


Room 1302 E