FAQ icon

Need Answers?

Directory Icon

Email, Phone, and Addresses

Graduation cap icon

Explore Degrees

Debi Khasnabis

Chair, Elementary Teacher Education; Clinical Professor, Marsal Family School of Education


(734) 647-0604


Room 1302 E
610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Debi Khasnabis teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in multicultural and multilingual education in the Elementary Teacher Education program. Khasnabis is a member of the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative (MSTLC), a strategic partnership between the University of Michigan School of Education and the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She has been involved in several initiatives aimed at designing and enacting collaborative projects between the Ann Arbor Public Schools and Marsal Family School of Education Teacher Education programs as a part of this initiative. Khasnabis earned her PhD in educational studies with a concentration in literacy, language, and culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to pursuing doctoral study, she was an upper elementary bilingual teacher in Detroit, Michigan.

Khasnabis’ research on the development of clinical contexts for teacher education is oriented to designing and applying frameworks for collaboration that are responsive to the needs of stakeholders in public school districts and university-based teacher education programs. With colleagues at the Marsal School and at Mitchell Elementary School and Scarlett Middle School, Khasnabis has written and given presentations on this topic in numerous venues, primarily focusing on the foundational structures that support focused activity in partnership settings and also on distributed mentorship opportunities that partnerships can foster.

Khasnabis also studies the design and enactment of culturally responsive ESL literacy curriculum. This work has primarily been located in the MSTLC partnership setting where she co-coordinates, with Cathy Reischl, a summer ESL program for upper elementary and middle grades English language learners. This project involves the design and study of a program in which teacher education students pursuing an ESL endorsement learn to teach integrated literacy units that draw upon the knowledge bases of family and community members. Khasnabis has partnered with numerous local organizations, including Leslie Science and Nature Center, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and Neutral Zone, to provide innovative and enriching summer learning opportunities for youth. She has presented her research in this area at NCTE, TESOL, and MITESOL and has written about it in various publications.

Lastly, Khasnabis leads the Learning Initiatives for Families and Educators (LIFE) project, initially funded by a $50,000 U-M Third Century Initiative Discovery grant. This project focuses on the preparation of beginning teachers to partner with diverse families and communities. In this area of research, Khasnabis has co-designed and implemented a range of assessments that target interns’ ability to recognize and problematize deficit-oriented perspectives regarding communities of color and interns’ competency in partnering with families and community members. With her colleagues, Khasnabis has presented and written about this research widely.

Khasnabis teaches courses in the following program(s):
Elementary Teacher Education (ELMAC)
Elementary Teacher Education
Literacy, Language, and Culture 


Number Course Name Location Days
EDUC 401
Literacy 1: Development of Foundational Skills

Addresses questions about how literacy develops in young children and what can teachers do to foster that development. Launches by considering the history of literacy in the U.S. and modern-day literacy demands. Then addresses several major constructs in early literacy development—concepts of print, phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, phonics, spelling, word recognition, and reading fluency in grades PK-6.

EDUC 218
Homelessness in Schools and Society: Engaged Practice in School Serving Organizations

In this course students extend what they have learned about U.S. schools and the institutions that serve public schools through extensive and varied practicums in these organizations and institutions. Students will acquire hands-on experience, in work nested inside an institution that serves and supports children, schools, and their communities.

Marsal Family School of Education, room 2310

EDUC 303
Problems and Principles of Elementary Education

Prerequisites: Must be elected concurrently with EDUC 301.
Draws upon experiences in elementary directed teaching; considers characteristics and experiences of pupils in the school, classroom environment, teaching competencies and professional responsibilities, school curriculum and policies, and administrative/organizational problems. Open only to students who are enrolled in 301 and who are thereby observing and teaching in the regular classroom.

EDUC 301
Directed Teaching in the Elementary Grades

Prerequisites: EDUC 307(6), 391, 392, 401, 403, 406, 411, 421, 431.

Develops the special knowledge and competencies required of nursery and elementary school teachers through observation and teaching in elementary school classrooms under the joint supervision of University and public school personnel. Requires a daily uninterrupted block of four to seven hours during the school day. Open only to seniors, special students, and graduate students who have been admitted to the teacher education program.