Penn GSE

Teacher Education Program

The urban-focused Teacher Education Program at Penn GSE offers those interested in preparing to be transformative teachers for urban learners the opportunity to become immersed in thinking deeply and critically about “the big issues” related to education and learning, and emphasizes teaching for equity and social justice.

Ten-Month Program

Our program is organized to maximize learning. The 10-month, full time program begins, for all students, July 1. Throughout the year, students engage in a cohesive and sequenced program that builds on concerns and questions about teaching and themselves as learners and teachers.

Cohort Model

The program is cohort based: all students begin and move through the program together, sharing classes and student teaching experiences. At the secondary level, students share a common field seminar, adolescent development and special topics. Content are specializations allow for smaller cohorts with particular foci to explore teaching in their content areas. Early elementary and middle level students share field seminar, child development and courses focused on the content of the elementary schooling.

Selective Admissions

Students are selected for the program based on academic achievement (minimum GPA of 3.0) and demonstrated content knowledge in their field. We also seek diverse students who have demonstrated commitment to urban education, whose goals align with those of the program.

Develop Research Skills

In the program, student teachers conduct research in their classrooms and complete a captone project. Many of our student teachers and alumni present at the Ethnography in Education Research Forum as well as the online journal Perspectives in Urban Education. Alumni are encouraged to join (or initiate) one of the many teacher inquiry groups that are active in the Philadelphia – and many other – urban areas

Practitioner Inquiry

An inquiry stance is modeled and encouraged; teachers see themselves not only as consumers of research but generators of it, using their own classrooms as sites for on-going research and self-reflection. Throughout the program, students learn about various forms of assessment and relate these to Pennsylvania Common Core and content standards for learning. 

Stellar Faculty

TEP faculty members have – and value – K-12 teaching experience. Our faculty members are all engaged in research that brings them into the schools and communities with which we partner, and they are exceptionally accessible and welcoming to students. They are deeply invested in preparing teachers who will represent the values of the Penn GSE Urban Teacher Education Program.


The mentored field experiences are the core of these programs. Carefully selected K-12 school settings and classrooms as well as selected classroom mentors serve as learning sites for student teachers. Penn Mentors (sometimes called university supervisors) provide on-going feedback, support and advice throughout the yearlong field placement. Penn Mentors participate in evaluating the final inquiry portfolio project, conduct mock interviews with student teachers seeking teaching positions, write letters of recommendations and provide countless other supports and advice throughout the program and often afterwards.

Leadership in Education

The Master's of Science in Education degree prepares alumni to take on leadership roles.  Our alumni are working in public service as teacher, principals, superintendents, foundation program officers, school board members, communit leaders iinternational educators, and more.

Focus on Technology

The teacher education programs at Penn GSE seek to use technology to help teachers improve their teaching practice, conduct research on their practice and improve communications with students, families and teaching communities of practice. Technology sessions are built into our programs throughout the year and we are consistently engaged in assessing and upgrading our own knowledge, skills and equipment. Student teachers are required to videotape themselves in the classroom and then those experiences are intensively studied with mentors and colleagues as a way to extend reflective self-inquiry and learning.

New Teacher Support

Student teachers leave our program prepared to take on the responsibilities and challenges of beginning teachers, understanding that their professional growth is just beginning. We understand this as well, and have provided a support network, the Philadelphia Area New Teachers Network, for those who are teaching in the Philadelphia region. Our plans include extending this network across the nation in an affiliation with like-minded teacher educators in urban areas and to generate this support via an online platform for those teaching internationally.