What is Involved in Teaching?

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



Teacher educators, policy makers and school administrators all need an understanding of the key ingredients of teaching. Why are some teachers better than others? How can we improve teaching practice? These are my contributions to this question.

Kennedy, M. M. (2016) Parcing Teaching Practices. Journal of Teacher Education, 67(1) 6-17.

Examines different methods used by researchers and policy makers to define teaching practicesin order to teach teachers how to teach or to govern teaching practices.

Kennedy, M. M.(2008) Sorting out teacher quality. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(1), 59-63

Reviews several dimensions of teacher quality and the ways in which these various aspects of quality are assessed.

Kennedy, M. M. (2006) From teacher quality to quality teaching. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 14-19.

Discussion of how the circumstances of teaching can influence the quality of teaching practices.

Kennedy, M. M. (2006) Knowledge and Vision in Teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 57 (3) 205-211.

Kennedy, M. M. (2005). Inside Teaching: How Classroom Life Undermines Reform. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Summarizes findings from a detailed examination of teaching practices and how teachers think about their practices. Contrasts their point of view with reform ideals.
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Kennedy, M. M. (2004) Examining teacher quality. In F. Lester Jr and J. Ferrini-Mundy (eds). Proceedings of the NCTM Research Catalyst Conference. Washington DC: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Outlines the various dimensions of teacher quality and give examples of research addressing each one. Written for a working group within the NCTM that was trying to develop a research agenda for the field.

Kennedy, M. M. (2004) Reform ideals and teachers' practical intentions. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12(13).

Reveals teachers' practical concerns as they try to manage students, curriculum, materials, time and other resources.

Kennedy, M. M. (2002). Knowledge and Teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 8(3/4), 355-370

Examines and compares sources of knowledge teachers rely on: experience, institutional prescriptions, and formal knowledge of the sort provided by universities and staff developers.

Kennedy, M. M. (2000). Learning to teach in another culture. Teachers and Teaching: Theory Into practice, 6(1), 75-100.

Describes my own experience learning to teach during a month in Thailand giving lectures, workshops and consultations to local faculty. Shows the role of cultural assumptions and expectations in teaching.

Kennedy, M. M. (1998). Educational reform and subject matter knowledge. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(3), 249-263.

Examines recent curriculum and pedagogy standards in science and uses these to delineate different definitions of subject matter knowledge in math and science.

Kennedy M. M. (1992) On the concept of Expertise. Presented at the Norwegian Research Council National Conference on Improving Norwegian National Capacity, Oslo, Norway.

An invited address for conference on national capacity building

Kennedy, M. M. (Ed.) (1992). Teaching Academic Subjects to Diverse Learners. Teachers College Press.

Presents a set of point-counterpoint papers addressing teacher knowledge in each of several domains of knowledge. Includes the four central school subjects (mathematics, science, history, and writing), student learning and student cultural backgrounds.

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Kennedy, M. M. (1990) Trends and Issues in Subject Matter Knowledge. Washington DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, American Association ofColleges for Teacher Education.

A literature review of emerging literature on the role of subject matter in teaching.

Kennedy, M. M. (1989) Knowledge base for beginning teachers. Maynard C. Reynolds, Editor. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(6), 53-57.

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