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Publications in VIVO

Braaten, Melissa Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Melissa Braaten's research aims to understand more about how teachers learn to teach science across multiple contexts for professional learning including the pre-service preparation of teachers in coursework and field experiences, professional learning in designed settings such as professional development for teachers, and professional learning that takes place 'on the job' in the day-to-day work of teachers in schools. She uses a variety of approaches to study science teachers' learning including: design-based research iteratively improving designs for teacher learning environments through cycles of research and development; narrative inquiries conducted in close relationship with teachers as they work to analyze, interpret, and improve their practice; school ethnography conducted with a team of researchers to make meaning of the complex, often paradoxical, contexts of teaching and learning in schools. See ambitiousscienceteaching.org for examples of her work with science teachers.


  • science studies, education for social justice, ambitious and equitable teaching and learning, social and cultural contexts for teaching and learning in schools, qualitative research methods, ethnography, narrative inquiry, case studies, design-based research


selected publications


courses taught

  • EDUC 2015 - Elementary Mathematics and Science Teaching for Social Justice
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Working for social justice is central to teaching mathematics and science with elementary-aged children. This course engages prospective elementary teachers with a multitude of early math and science experiences that children draw upon to understand their worlds. Participants will develop interest-driven, culturally sustaining, and inclusive action plans for teaching math and science for social justice with young learners.
  • EDUC 2020 - Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching STEM
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Invites science, mathematics and engineering students to explore teaching as a career by providing first-hand experiences teaching science/math lessons in local elementary classrooms. Introduces theory and practice necessary to design and deliver excellent instruction. Master teachers provide ongoing support and feedback. Meets weekly on CU campus (1.5 hours/week) and involves five visits to an elementary school.
  • EDUC 5215 - Elementary Science Theory and Methods
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019
    Provides pre-service elementary teachers opportunities to explore contemporary theories of learning, curriculum development, pedagogical strategies, and assessment. Blends scientific content, pedagogy, and practical applications.
  • EDUC 8115 - History and Policy Issues in Teaching and Teacher Education
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Examine how issues and dilemmas in teacher education are grounded in historical and political contexts. Analyze patterns in preparation of new teachers, in mechanisms used to govern entry into teaching and make determinations of quality of teachers and teaching, and in efforts to professionalize and de-professionalize teachers and teaching. Investigate contemporary teacher education debates to better understand potential research-policy-practice connections.
  • EDUC 8950 - Proposal and Dissertation Writing
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Provides students with ongoing opportunities to write social science research in the context of the design, analysis and data representation, development, and write-up of students' dissertation proposals and dissertations. Students will learn to expand how they think about and use evidence, clarify their ideas and arguments, and improve their writing. Students working on proposals and dissertations should enroll.


International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

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