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Secondary 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.”

The major in Secondary Education prepares students to teach English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, or the Social Sciences at the secondary school level (grades 7-12). Students complete Liberal Education Core Requirements, the Secondary Education Major, and an Arts and Science major in at least one endorsement field. Secondary Education majors may add an additional endorsement, in any of the above content areas, with appropriate course work. Each endorsement field involves 27-36 hours of course work in the discipline, plus additional field work applying theory into practice.

Features of the Program

Secondary Education majors add a second non-education major, required for licensure as a teacher and adding valuable academic preparation for a wide variety of professional options. Beginning in the freshman year, students visit and observe classrooms in local schools and agencies and in experimental classrooms on campus. These real-classroom experiences, in conjunction with university course work, help students integrate educational theory, research, and classroom practice.

Additionally, faculty academic advisors meet with students each semester to monitor and support students' progress through their programs of study. Technology is integrated throughout the programs to support students' learning. 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

Society, the School, and the Teacher; Introduction to Classroom Technologies; Teaching in the Secondary Schools; Teaching for Understanding and Academic Literacy; Practicum in Secondary Education; Teaching Linguistically Diverse Students; Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education; Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Schools; Teaching Science in Secondary Schools; Teaching English in Secondary Schools.


Vanderbilt students seeking teacher licensure apply through the Office of Teacher Licensure at Vanderbilt and 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

“Altogether an incredible program!”

 “…fantastic advisor who really knew me and worked with me.” 

“I hope you realize how essential you were in helping me... Not only by giving me emotional support and practical advice for the interview, but in providing me with curriculum and instruction that literally changed my life.”

After Vanderbilt

Jackson Reimers (BS 2014): The recipient of our inaugural Research into Practice Award, Jackson is a Physics and Engineering teacher at Franklin High School. His article, “An Introduction to the Standards for Preparation and Professional Development for Teachers of Engineering” was published in 2015 in the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER)

Laura Cockman (BS 2014): After receiving the Frank Longinotti Professional Promise award, Laura accepted a position teaching English in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Christian Jenkins (BS 2013): Christian was honored as a 2013 Knowles Science Teaching Fellow, awarding young teachers of promise working toward innovations in STEM fields. Christian teaches math at Antioch High School in Nashville, TN.

Shara Bellamy (B.S., 2013): Shara is teaching biology at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, part of an award winning science department that is setting the standard for teaching science through modeling and demonstrating the Next Generation Science Standards.

Cara Rosenthal (B.S., 2012): The winner of the Frank Longinotti Professional Promise Award, Cara joined the YES Prep network in Houston, TX (her home town) where she is a teacher of social studies and an ELL-endorsed instructor.

Maddie Martin, (B.S. 2011 Secondary Education and Math): Maddie was honored as a 2012 Knowles Science Teaching Fellow, to support innovations in Math teaching. Maddie currently teaches at Harpeth Hall School for Girls in Nashville, TN.

Jalencia Burchett (BS 2010): After teaching for three years in Gwinnett County Public Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, Jalencia was named the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year for South Gwinnett High School, a school serving over 2500 students. Her classroom was chosen as an exemplary classroom to be visited by the Broad Foundation in 2014, as part of the National Broad Prize for Urban Education, which earned GCPS a $1M award in scholarship funds for its students.

Joshua Vorwaller (B.S., 2005): Joshua is teaching World History to 380 students on a Navajo reservation in Sanders, AZ.


Faculty within the Department of Teaching and Learning are involved in a variety of research projects that are having 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 and Learning


Secondary Education Website