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Elementary Education (M.Ed.)

Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Overview

Designed to prepare you to work with and for urban schools, the master’s in Elementary Education is built around the core values of equity, access, and inclusion. These three tenets are integrated throughout coursework and practica so that you are ready to teach in culturally responsive ways.

Our multifaceted partnerships with local schools and community-based organizations help you connect theory to practice as you gain experience in such initiatives as trauma-influenced practices and Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).

Peabody College's Elementary Education program is ranked among the top five in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and aligns with the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) and Tennessee state standards.

The M.Ed. in Elementary Education program is designed around four educational principles grounded in theory, supported by research, and focused on practice:

Student thinking is the most important resource for a teacher.
You will pay attention to students’ emerging ideas and understandings, building and bridging from their initial thinking toward deeper and more sophisticated understandings of subject matter. Through video assignments, practica, and student teaching, you will develop and refine your skills in eliciting, interpreting, and building student reasoning to advance student learning.

Subject matter matters.
The subject areas of school curriculum are characterized by distinct forms of discourse, norms, and practices. Subject-specific foundations and methods courses help you unpack these elements and develop the instructional vision and skills to foster children’s learning.

Diversity is an asset, not a barrier.
In paying careful attention to learners’ sense-making and knowledge of subject matter, effective teachers capitalize on students’ academic, cultural, and linguistic experiences and skills to promote both individual and group learning. You will learn to design instructional tasks with multiple points of entry, as well as identify and build from differences in student reasoning.

Learning to teach occurs continuouslyin relationin and through practice.
Learning to teach happens in interaction with students, colleagues, and others over time. It requires the opportunity to act and space to reflect, so that you can draw connections between practical experience, defensible theory, and sound research. As you grow increasingly skilled, you will take on increasing responsibility in your classrooms – becoming competent and trusted members of your school community.

Teacher Licensure

Successful completion of the master’s degree in Elementary Education leads to a recommendation to the state for a teaching license in K5.

The Office of Teacher Licensure coordinates teacher licensure policies and procedures for the Elementary Education program so you will be prepared to meet Tennessee and other accreditation standards for teacher licensing.

Peabody College graduates who become licensed in Tennessee also can become licensed in other states. But completing licensure requirements may call for work beyond  the normal degree requirements, especially if your undergraduate program was deficient in liberal education categories or in the academic major you have chosen for the Elementary Education program.

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education

Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Director: Brian Kissel, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Angie Saylor
Admission Term: Summer
Credit Hours: 31
Priority Application Deadline: December 31* for summer entrance

* We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships on a space-and-funds-available basis.

Our Commitment

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Our program addresses justice, equity, and inclusion through our preservice teachers’ deep immersion in K-5 subject matter knowledge, their understanding of learners and the various homes and communities from which learners come to school, and their participation in varied practicum and student teaching experiences that take them into local schools and communities. We strive to center equity, diversity, and inclusive practices in our program while weaving the tenets of culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining pedagogies throughout each course and practicum experience.

Selected Courses Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

EDUC 6110: Learning Ecologies: Equity, Access, and Inclusion – This course provides a socio-historical perspective on U.S. schools with an exploration of how students have been, and continue to be, sorted based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, and (dis)ability. Students also pursue a practicum in program sites that predominantly serve low-income students of color and multilingual refugees and immigrants.

EDUC 6230: Teaching Literacy with Diverse Learners - The course examines factors associated with literacy development, such as text, cultural-social issues, language, instruction, and cognition, with a focus on methodologies for accommodating students with diverse learning needs in regular classrooms and special settings.

EDUC 6230: Recognizing and Responding to Diverse Learners - This hybrid course and practicum combines regular contact hours with full-time, in-school experience with students with special needs. The goal is to ensure that candidates understand their responsibilities with respect to the law and language of special education services and develop the capacity to recognize and respond to students who are not flourishing academically, emotionally, socially or psychologically.

Selected Faculty Research Related to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Elizabeth Self, assistant professor of the practice of social foundations of education
Professor Self regularly teaches courses that focus on identity, positionality, and systems of oppression. Her research focuses on designing and using simulated encounters, modeled after standardized patient encounters in medical education, to prepare preservice teachers for anti-oppressive teaching.

Luis Leyva, assistant professor of mathematics education
Professor Leyva’s research examines historically marginalized students’ narratives as engineering, computing, and mathematical science majors. These narratives reveal how interlocking systems of power, including racism, sexism, and heterosexism, shape unique experiences of oppression and resistance in undergraduate STEM education across intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and other identities.

100% of job-seeking Elementary Education graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career placements:

Recent graduates with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education have gone on to the following positions, among others:
  • 1st Grade Teacher, James B. Edwards Elementary, Charleston, SC
  • 2nd Grade Teacher, Milltown Primary School, Bridgewater, NJ
  • 3rd Grade Teacher, Gower Elementary School, Nashville, TN
  • 4th Grade Teacher, Thomas Edison Elementary, Nashville, TN
  • 5th Grade Teacher, Madison Middle School, Madison, TN
  • Elementary Teacher, Empower: Explore Charter, Brooklyn, NY
  • Gifted Teacher, Clarksville Elementary, Clarksville, TN
  • Kindergarten Teacher, Garden House School, London, England
  • Pre-First Teacher, Collegio Atid, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Student Program Coordinator, NASA - Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA

Practicum Experience

You will be working with children throughout the program, starting in your first few weeks. Summer practica provide you a unique opportunity to engage with students in community-based summer programs so you will understand how to support learning in informal and academic settings.

In the fall, you will spend two days a week at an elementary school in the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) district. In conjunction with a mentor teacher, you will observe and participate in all aspects of the classroom. You will observe several grades and interact with school staff, including administrators, family resource providers, and support staff. This authentic experience grounds the theories and strategies explored in your coursework.

You will be paired with a mentor teacher for your internship teaching and spend five days a week in one of our partner elementary schools from early January through May. During this time, you will gradually take on more teaching responsibilities and have a 2-week period during which you plan, teach, and assess on your own. You will also have the opportunity to observe and support teachers in other classrooms and participate in after-school events.

Program Curriculum

You will be able to earn a master’s degree in Elementary Education with licensure in 13 months by completing 31 credit hours at Peabody College. The coursework begins in June with an intensive 8-week experience that combines:

  • An introduction to the social, historical, and political context of elementary education, emphasizing the values of equity, access, and inclusion
  • Subject matter foundations and methods in science, social studies, and math
  • Clinical experience in high-quality summer programs for children with inquiry-focused academic experiences

In the fall, you will focus on subject-matter foundations and methods in English language arts and mathematics. Your coursework will be grounded by a practicum experience in schools serving significant numbers of English Language Learners and students from economically disadvantaged communities.

From January through May, you will complete student teaching, and in May through June, you will take courses linked by a focus on serving learners with specific learning needs in the areas of reading and science. Capstone projects are submitted and presented in June.

Sample Course Sequence

Summer Semester: 9 credit hours

  • SSED 6250: Social Studies Methods
  • SCED 6200: Science Concepts
  • MTED 6200: Mathematics Concepts
  • EDUC 6211: Learning Ecologies I – Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Context

Fall Semester: 10 credit hours

  • MTED 6250: Advanced Teaching of Mathematics in Elementary Schools
  • EDUC 6210: Theory/Practice of Literacy Education in Elementary Grades
  • EDUC 6220: Theory and Practice of Writing in Elementary Grades
  • EDUC 6200: Teaching Literature in Elementary Classrooms
  • EDUC 6212: Learning Ecologies II – Advanced Practicum in Literacy and Mathematics

Spring Semester: 5 credit hours

  • EDUC 7970: Internship (student teaching)
  • EDUC 7971: Internship Seminar / Learning Ecologies III

Maymester: 4 credit hours

  • EDUC 6230: Teaching Literacy for Diverse Learners
  • EDUC 6214: Learning Ecologies IV – Situating Special Education
  • EDUC 7970: Internship (student teaching)

June Module: 4 credit hours

  • SCED 6250: Advanced Teaching of Science in Elementary Schools
    Includes embedded practicum.
  • HMED 6250: Introduction to Arts Education
Program Curriculum


Department faculty come to Peabody College with years of classroom experience and a commitment to research that positively influences students' learning. Among other topics, current faculty focus on children’s literature, improving the quality of mathematics teaching, and supporting emergent bilinguals in literacy development.

Andrea Henrie
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Teaching and Learning
Brian Kissel
  • Director of Elementary Education and ECE Programs; Professor of the Practice of Literacy, Department of Teaching and Learning
Luis A. Leyva
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Faculty Affiliate, Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Kristen W. Neal
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Teaching and Learning
Emily Pendergrass
  • Director Reading Education Program, Associate Professor of the Practice of Literacy Education, Department of Teaching and Learning
Jeanne Peter
  • Principal Senior Lecturer, Department of Teaching and Learning
Anita A. Wager
  • Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Office of the Dean