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Insight Newsletter

Eric Toshalis

April 24, 2014

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During a semester-long sabbatical, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education Eric Toshalis has been busy at work on numerous publications and professional outreach activities related to his expertise in adolescent development and teacher preparation in secondary classrooms.

He has completed the manuscript for his forthcoming book, Make Me: Understanding and Engaging Student Resistance in the Classroom (forthcoming, 2015, Harvard Education Press) which examines theoretical, psychological, social, and pedagogical factors that influence students’ and teachers’ reactions to classroom misbehaviors and disciplinary interactions. Based on this work, Toshalis presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association this spring. That paper, “Making sense of ‘no’: A taxonomy of adolescent resistance in the classroom” provides middle and high school teachers as well as university teacher educators with a new framework to conceptualize and productively respond to student opposition in school.

Earlier this year, Toshalis published, “Grow Your Own Teachers for Urban Education,” a chapter in the Handbook of Urban Education, published by Routledge. The book is a comprehensive resource for research, theory, policy, and practices in inner city schools. Toshalis’ chapter focuses on the rise of teacher education programs designed to provide pathways for urban youth to become professional educators who serve the communities from which they spring, a movement that stands in stark contrast to the controversial, fast-track, alternative programs such as Teach for America.

With colleague Michael J. Nakkula from the University of Pennsylvania, Toshalis authored “Prioritizing Motivation and Engagement: The Future of Student-Centered Learning,” in Anytime, Anywhere: Student-Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers, published by Harvard Education Press. In their chapter, Toshalis and Nakkula conclude that when educators use student-centered approaches to reinforce student agency, motivation and engagement are likely to rise. The authors also wrote and published a professional development curriculum titled, “Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice Toolkit,” (available at which will help educators worldwide apply the concepts in the chapter.

More locally, Toshalis worked with a group of Portland Public School District principals to revise their teacher evaluation instrument to better attend to race, ethnicity, cultural difference, social justice, and equity issues in the classroom.

Learn more about Eric Toshalis.

Watch a video of Toshalis discussion his research on student-centered learning.

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