Making the Invisible Visible: Identifying Shared Functions that Enable the Complex Work of University-based Teacher Educators

Jennifer L. Snow, Jennifer Jacobs, Frank Pignatosi, Pat Norman, Frances Rust, Diane Yendol-Hoppey, Fernando Naiditch, Carrie Nepstad, Dirck Roosevelt, Desiree Hood Pointer-Mace, Clare Kosnick, Connor Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Through our shared interest in articulating a knowledge base for teacher education, we believe a deeper examination of the work of teacher educators would contribute to a fuller understanding of who teacher educators are and the work they do. Recognizing how context and positionality influence conceptions of teacher education and with a desire to refine our own understandings of the work of teacher educators, we engaged in a collaborative self-study to examine the work of 12 university-based teacher educators in the United States. Through our analysis of one day in our work, we identified three key functions that transcend our positions and, at the same time, are essential, even core, aspects of the work that we enact daily. These functions of Design, Leadership and Advocacy are all framed by the educative purpose of the work of teacher educators. These functions are overlapping and highlight the movement and energy among the functions and collective purpose for teacher educator work. An underlying thread of connectivity, building and maintaining growth-oriented relationships through positionality, communication, and interaction weaves throughout the functions, and we found our community of practice developed throughout the collaborative self-study was a key aspect of connectivity and collaboration in our work as teacher educators. Identifying the key educative functions across our work enabled us to codify a shared language and challenge the assumption that there is no knowledge base in teacher education as an enterprise. We believe our examination of our work informs future inquiry into collective teacher educator practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-375
Number of pages25
JournalStudying Teacher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • Teacher educator work
  • collaborative Self-Study
  • knowledge base for teacher education


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