Dr. Sarah Schneider Kavanagh is a research assistant professor of teacher education in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division. She is currently a Co-Principal Investigator of two large research projects studying innovative designs for teacher learning. Her current and recent funded projects total more than $6 million. Prior to joining Penn GSE, Dr. Kavanagh was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University's Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and a research scientist at the University of Washington’s College of Education, where she started the Mentor Labs Project, a research and development initiative focused on transforming the practice of teacher mentoring in K-12 schools.
Dr. Kavanagh received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she co-founded Teacher Education by Design, an open-source curricular library of practice-based tools for teacher education with a membership of teacher educators that spans over 500 school districts, 150 institutions of higher education, and 16 countries.
Among other journals, her work has appeared in the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, and the Journal of Teacher Education.
Research Interests and Current Projects
Dr. Kavanagh studies the pedagogy of teacher education. In particular, her scholarship focuses on practice-based pedagogical approaches to preparing teachers to engage in inquiry-based instruction. She is currently leading two large research teams in multiyear investigations of innovative designs for teacher learning. The first is a study of teacher learning within Penn GSE’s Project-Based Learning Certificate Program. The second is a study of teaching learning within the school-based learning labs that she facilitates in the School District of Philadelphia.
These current projects build off of Dr. Kavanagh’s recent work, including an investigation of the relationship between teacher educators’ pedagogy and novice teacher take-up of instructional practices associated with facilitating discussions of texts in secondary English and history classrooms. Her work on this topic has appeared in the American Educational Research Journal (2017), the Journal of Teacher Education (2018), and Teaching and Teacher Education (in press). Along with studying English and history teachers’ practice as it relates to content instruction, Dr. Kavanagh has also investigated their practice as it relates to equity issues, particularly how teachers’ instructional practice changes when they integrate content relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBTQ) people, families, and communities. This work has appeared in Teachers College Record (2016), the International Journal of Multicultural Education (2016), and Equity & Excellence in Education (in press).
Ph.D. (Curriculum & Instruction) University of Washington, 2014
B.A. (American Studies) Wesleyan University, 2004
Areas of Expertise
Teacher education & certification
Teacher professional development
Mentoring & teacher induction
History/social studies education
LGBTQ issues in education