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Penn Graduate School of Education

The Collaboratory for Teaching and Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education


The Penn GSE Collaboratory is a hub for research on teaching and teacher education. The faculty’s research contributes to program innovations and knowledge in the field. 

Current Research Projects

Justice-Centered Reflective Practice in Teacher Education

This practitioner research project is an exploration of our evolving approach to teacher education, which we call justice-centered reflective practice. Our pedagogy centers joy, imagination, vulnerability, and uncertainty, which we conceptualize as mediating six foundational principles that guide our practice as teacher educators. Through ongoing study of the Independent School Teaching Residency (ISTR) program, this research aims to reimagine teacher preparation with justice and care at its core, reflecting on how the key tenets of our approach are expressed in our curriculum, culture, and structure and taken up by ISTR students, faculty, and partner schools.

Penn GSE Project Team: Charlotte Jacobs, Michael Kokozos, Sonia Rosen, Frances Rust, Jessica Whitelaw
Penn GSE Doctoral Students: Vinay Mallikaarjun


PassTheMicYouth (PTMY) seeks to amplify the voices of young people by sharing their lived experiences and stories of activism through a podcast and blog. This platform aims to highlight youth-centered issues, demonstrate the necessity of youth leadership, and provide educators and youth-serving professionals with useful tools and resources for fostering youth leadership, cultivating critical consciousness, and strengthening youth/adult partnerships. Research from PTMY has led to a new framework — critical positive youth development — a new curriculum reviewed by 4-H, "#PassingTheMic: A Curriculum to Amplify Youth Voices & Develop Critical Consciousness," and a forthcoming book, Teaching Storytelling in Classrooms & Communities: Amplifying Student Voices & Inspiring Social Change.

Penn GSE Faculty: Michael Kokozos
External Collaborators: Maru Gonzalez, North Carolina State University; Christy Byrd, North Carolina State University; Katie McKee, North Carolina State University

This design-based inquiry study seeks to understand how learning about responsive mathematics teaching practices begun in university teacher preparation can be extended to the early years of teaching through online video-feedback inquiry groups. Through a series of inquiry cycles, participants submit videos of brief number sense routines along with focusing questions about their practice and then comment on the videos of others in the group. The project is developing a deeper understanding of early career teachers' learning of responsive teaching practices and testing and improving a low-cost and sustainable model for supporting K–8 mathematics teachers. This approach is also being used in a professional learning program for K–8 teachers and leaders around teaching math routines for computational fluency.

Penn GSE Faculty: Caroline Ebby, Janine Remillard
Penn GSE Project Team: Brittany Hess, Jennifer Valerio
Penn GSE Doctoral Students: Lara Condon, Lindsay Goldsmith-Markey

Project-Based Learning for Global Climate Justice

The PBL for Global Climate Justice project is a professional learning program and a research project. As a professional learning program, the aim is to support educators from across the globe to design and deliver project-based learning experiences focused on issues of global climate justice. As a research project, the aim is to better understand the challenges and opportunities educators face as they work to design and enact projects focused on authentic, interdisciplinary, and complex problems and issues. The research also focuses on identifying and understanding the design elements of professional learning experiences that appear to be most supportive to teachers as they design and implement projects.

Penn GSE Project Team: Taylor HausburgZachary Herrmann
Funded by Penn Environmental Innovations Research Community Grant; Penn Global Engagement Grant

Learning Trajectory-Oriented Formative Assessment in the Early Grades

This project is exploring the efficacy of a 3-year intervention designed to build teachers' capacity to use research on student learning trajectories in early mathematics learning to elicit and respond to student thinking and tailor instruction to student needs. The study uses a mixed methods quasi-experimental design to explore the impacts on teacher's use of curriculum, Pre-K–3 student learning outcomes, the barriers and supports for school-level implementation, and the effects of variation in implementation on student outcomes over multiple years.

Penn GSE Faculty: Caroline Ebby
Penn GSE Project Team: Karina Diaz, Brittany Hess, Lizzy Pecora
Funded by the Heising Simons Foundation

DISCUSS: The Development of Novice Teachers’ Role-Identities as Discussion Facilitators in Social Studies Classrooms

We study the discussion facilitation practices of social studies teachers as they move from their preservice year into their third year of teaching. We examine teachers’ development through the lens of the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity (DSMRI), a theory that views individual action as framed by one’s socially situated role-identity (e.g., teacher, parent, doctor). Each role-identity is complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving. We will design a practitioner-facing website with tools to support teachers in developing teacher role-identities that support discussions in social studies classrooms.

Penn GSE Faculty: Abby Reisman, Wendy Chan
External Collaborators: Tim Patterson, Temple University; Avi Kaplan, Temple University
Funded by the McDonnell Foundation

The Responsive Math Teaching project focuses on improving mathematics instruction in a network of elementary schools through a research-practice partnership between Penn GSE and the School District of Philadelphia. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is developing tools and resources to help translate district instructional vision into classroom practice, including: (1)  an instructional model that is responsive to both students’ developing understanding and to mathematical goals, (2) professional development for teachers to experience, teach, and lead Responsive Math Teaching lessons, and (3) mentoring for school-based Math Lead Teachers in instructional coaching. The project team is studying how teachers learn to take on leadership roles by tracing their development over time along several dimensions of leadership capacity and analyzing the extent to which dimensions of the instructional model are being translated into coaching and teacher practice.

Penn GSE Faculty: Caroline B. EbbyCaroline Watts
Penn GSE Project Team: Joy Anderson Davis, Brittany Hess, Lizzy Pecora, Jennifer Valerio
Penn GSE Doctoral Students: Lindsay Goldsmith-Markey
Funded by the National Science Foundation

While classroom discourse plays an essential role in inquiry-oriented instruction, most U.S. classrooms are permeated with practices that constrain productive discourse. This project aims to understand how teachers, working together over time, collectively make sense of the work of facilitating student-centered discussions of literary texts. We study the tools that teachers create to support their practice as discussion facilitators and track changes in their practice and their sense-making.

Penn GSE Faculty: Sarah Schneider Kavanagh
External Collaborators: Hala Ghousseini, University of Wisconsin - Madison; Elizabeth Dutro, University of Colorado - Boulder; Elham Kazemi, University of Washington - Seattle
Funded by the McDonnell Foundation