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Elementary Education

Welcome to the Department of Teaching and Learning

Students discover Peabody's Department of Teaching and Learning through the sweeping stone stairs and stately columns of the Faye and Joe B. Wyatt Center, the elegant domed edifice that sits at the head of Peabody’s campus. But that's where any resemblance to an ivory tower ends. Faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning spend as much time in the classrooms and hallways of Nashville’s public schools as they do in the seminar rooms of the college, leading to some of the best-prepared new teachers in the country.

“Our students have an exceptional level of supervised support as they work in field placements, connecting the theory they learn on campus with practice in real classrooms” says Professor Rogers Hall, Chair of the Department. “These experiences, combined with access to faculty who know current research and are intimately familiar with how children learn, make for an outstanding program."

"Because we seek to prepare teachers who are effective from their first day, our program has an exceptionally rich set of field experiences that provides students who are seeking certification with the skills and knowledge they need to begin their professional lives,” says Hall. “Students interested in education who are not seeking certification benefit equally from these powerful experiences, as they use our field experiences as a means to understand the applications of theoretical knowledge about learning, teaching and development that can be applied in a variety of contexts.”

Elementary Education at Vanderbilt is a field-oriented program designed to prepare students for work with children in elementary school (grades K-6).  The major prepares students for licensure in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program’s unique focus on children’s developmental thinking and reasoning prepares majors for work in both school and non-school settings that involve teaching, advocacy, policy, and informal learning opportunities.

Features of the Program

Students majoring Elementary Education add a second non-education major, required for teacher licensure and adding valuable preparation for a wide variety of professional options. Second majors often directly complement the Elementary requirements, enriching student development through a multiple-lensed-approach to education. Additionally, the program of studies for Elementary Education majors contains approximately 60 hours of liberal education courses that are taken across the University.

Beginning in the first year, students visit and observe classrooms in local schools and agencies. Field experiences become more intensive and practice-driven through the sophomore and junior years, with a full semester of Student Teaching in senior year. These real-classroom experiences, in conjunction with university course work, help students integrate educational theory, research, and classroom practice. Technology is integrated throughout the programs to support students' learning. Additionally, faculty academic advisors build strong mentoring relationships with students, monitoring and supporting students' progress through their programs of study. Students are paired with experienced first-year advisors to help navigate their initial transition to the college, then linked to faculty advisors whose academic interests overlap the students’ for the remainder of their program.

Recently Offered Courses

Theory and Methods of Reading Instruction in Elementary Schools; Practicum in Teaching Elementary and Language Arts; Language Arts in Elementary Schools; Practicum in Elementary Sciences; Managing Instructional Settings; Student Teaching Seminar-Elementary; Society, the School and the Teacher; Introduction to Classroom Technologies.


Vanderbilt students seeking teacher licensure must apply through the Office of Teacher Licensure at Vanderbilt and must meet licensure requirements in effect at the time of their graduation. Each year, teacher licensure candidates should consult the current Vanderbilt Undergraduate Catalog, the Undergraduate Guide to Teacher Licensure published by the Vanderbilt Office of Teacher Licensure, and the Peabody College Undergraduate Handbook published by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Kudos from our Graduates

Recent graduates write us with comments such as:

“The best part of my experience at Peabody was the unbelievable amount of first-hand, practical classroom exposure. I was able to apply the theoretical information that I learned in my courses to a practical experience. This opportunity has been invaluable to my growth as a teacher.”

“I feel I have been exceptionally well-prepared. I feel qualified to initiate and conduct my own professional development, as well as handle my own classroom.”

“I have never loved learning so much!  I think the professors are excellent, and the practica and student teaching are so vital.”

Quotes were taken from a recent Peabody survey/questionnaire.

After Vanderbilt

Leslie Gorzkowski (B.S. 2015): After receiving the Elementary Education award for Professional Promise, Leslie returned to Connecticut, where she teaches First Grade in the New Haven public school district.

Emily Porter (BS 2014): Emily, the 2014 recipient of the Elementary Education award for Professional Promise is in graduate school pursuing her Master’s in Education at Teachers College, New York, where she also teaches preschool.

Cristina Zeppos (BS 2014): Cristina is a Third Grade Teacher at Lockeland Elementary School in Nashville, TN, where she was honored as part of the faculty contributing to the school’s 2015 achievement as a Reward School for Promise.

Jessie Rodriguez (BS 2013): Jessie teaches in Metro Nashville Public Schools as an Elementary Education teacher. Jessie uses her double major in Theatre to support her work with CYT, an afterschool character development program serving students from ages 4-18 through theatre arts.


Faculty within the Department of Teaching and Learning are involved in a variety of research projects that have a national impact. The department is known for work in several areas, including mathematics and science education, language and literacy, and work in classroom environments and management. This research is incorporated into the Peabody curriculum, enhancing the educational preparation of the Peabody teacher education students and preparing them to succeed as educators in their own classrooms, schools, and school systems.


Catherine McTamaney
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Teaching & Learning

Elementary Education Website