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Rachel Lotan

Photo of Rachel Lotan
Rachel Lotan
Academic Title 
Professor Emerita
Contact Information
(650) 723-5992
Program Affiliations 
CTE: Teacher Education

Teaching and learning in heterogeneous classrooms; teacher education; sociology of the classroom; social organization of schools.

Dr. Lotan is the former Director of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP). Her teaching and research focus on aspects of teaching and learning in academically and linguistically diverse classrooms as well as topics in teacher education. Previously, she co-directed the Program for Complex Instruction at Stanford, where she worked on the development, research and worldwide dissemination of complex instruction, a pedagogical approach to creating equitable classrooms. For ten years before starting graduate work, Dr. Lotan taught English and French in junior high and high school.

"Equitable classrooms are reflections of a pedagogical, political, and moral vision - a vision that includes a particular conception of learning and teaching, an unapologetic design for the goals of public educational institutions, and a consistent commitment to care for all children and adolescents. In pedagogical terms, equitable classrooms are environments where “being smart” is defined broadly to reflect authentic undertakings in the real world, where students frequently and successfully demonstrate their “smarts,” and where they are recognized publicly for their competence and accomplishments. In equitable classrooms, all students have access to intellectually challenging curricula and grade-appropriate learning tasks. In these classrooms, students interact with equal status: they are engaged, they participate actively, and their voices are heard by the teacher and by their peers. The teacher plans the learning environment, orchestrates productive interactions, and treats all students fairly. In political terms, equitable classrooms result in narrowing the achievement gap allowing advancement to higher levels of education for more students. In equitable classrooms, teachers and students practice democracy. In moral terms, an ethic of care pervades equitable classroom. Rather than imposing rigid control, teachers model and instill a sense of responsibility towards self and others. Students serve as academic, linguistic, and social resources for one another and are accountable to each other individually and as members of a group."

  • PhD (Education), Stanford University, 1985
  • MA (Sociology), Stanford University, 1983
  • MA (Education), Stanford University, 1981
  • Secondary Education Credential, Foreign Language Teacher, Tel Aviv University, 1971
  • BA (English Linguistics and French Language, Literature and Civilization), Tel Aviv University, 1970

Professor Emerita on recall (2014-2016)


Acting Assistant Professor (1986-1987)

Co-Director, Program for Complex Instruction, Center for Educational Research and Senior Research Scholar (1986-1999)

Associate Professor of Education (Teaching) and Director of Stanford Teacher Education Program (1999 - 2006)

Professor of Education (Teaching) and Director of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (2006 - 2014)

Junior High and High School Teacher (1969-1980)

Research Assistant, Center for Educational Research at Stanford (1982-1985)

Visiting Assistant/Associate Professor, Institute for the Advancement of Social Integration in Schools, Bar-Ilan University, Israel (Summers, 1986-1991)

  • EDUC 246 A,B,C &D, Secondary Teaching Seminar (Practicum)
  • EDUC 284,Teaching and Learning in Heterogeneous Classrooms

2013 Lit, Ira and R. Lotan, A balancing act: Dilemmas of implementing a high-stakes performance assessment, The New Educator, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 54-76

2012 Rachel A. Lotan, Complex Instruction, In James A. Banks (Editor), Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA

2010 Ben-Peretz, M. and R. Lotan, Social and Cultural Influences on Teacher Education, In P. Peterson, E. Baker, B. McGaw & P.Peterson ( Eds) . International Encyclopedia of Education, Volume 7, Oxford. Elsevier (pp.  525-531)

2010 Darling-Hammond, L., J. Dieckman, E. Haertel, R. Lotan, X. Newton, S. Philipose, E. Spang, E. Thomas, & P. Williamson, Studying teacher effectiveness: The challenges of developing valid measures. In G. Walford & E. Tucker (Eds.) The handbook of measurement: How social scientists generate, modify, and validate indicators and scales. Sage Publications.

2008 Lotan, Rachel A., Developing language and content knowledge in heterogeneous classrooms, In The teacher's role in implementing cooperative learning in the classroom, R. Gillies, (Ed), Springer. pp. 187-203

2006 Lotan, Rachel A., Managing groupwork. In Evertson, C. and C. Weinstein (eds.) Handbook of Classroom Management: Research, Practice, and Contemporary Issues, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. New Jersey. Pp. 525-539

2006 Lotan, Rachel A., Commentary, in Mentoring teachers toward excellence: Supporting and Developing Highly Qualified Teachers, Shulman, J. and M. Sato (Eds.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. New Jersey. Pp. 169-171

2006 Lotan, Rachel A., Teaching teachers to build equitable classrooms, Theory into Practice. Vol. 45, No.1. pp. 32-39

2005 Bunch, G., Lotan, R.A., Valdes, G., Cohen, E.G., Keeping Content at the Heart of "Content-Based Instruction": Access and Support for Transitional English Learners, in Kaufman, D. and J. Crandall, (Eds.) Content-Based Language Instruction In Primary and Secondary School Settings, Case Studies in TESOL Practice Series. Teachers of English To Speakers of Other Languages, Pp.11-25

2004 Cohen, Elizabeth G. and Rachel A. Lotan, Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, in Banks and Banks (Eds.), Handbook for Multicultural Education, Second Edition, Jossey-Bass. Pp. 736-750

2004 Lotan, Rachel A. Stepping into Groupwork, in Cohen, E.G., C. Brody C., and M. Sapon-Shevin (eds.) Teaching Cooperative Learning: The Challenge for Teacher Education, SUNY Press, Albany. Book won 2004 AESA Critics’ Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association. pp. 167-182

2003 Lotan, Rachel A. Group-worthy tasks. Educational Leadership. Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 72-75.

Member, Editorial Board, European Journal for Intercultural Education.

Member, Editorial Board, Teacher Education Quarterly.

8/2007 Summer Institute under the auspices of the Initiative for Distance Learning, Stanford University held at Stanford University, Freman Spogli Institute for International Studies

7/2007 "Evidence-Based Decision Making," 3-day Workshop at the Stanford Summer Teacher Institute

4/2007 A survey to assess teacher candidates’ preparation and preference to work with English Learners: Pilot results from two universities, Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, Chicago, Il

4/2007 Assessment in detracked classrooms, Invited Address, SIG Tracking and Detracking, AERA Annual Meeting, Chicago, Il

4/2006 Working with English Learners: Teacher Candidates’ Knowledge and Dispositions, AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA

4/2006 Teaching Teachers to Build Equitable Classrooms, AERA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA

7/2006 The professional preparation of teachers: Programmatic design and expected outcomes, Invited presentation to the Faculty of Education, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

7/2006 Effective professional development: Systemic conditions and processes for teacher learning, Invited presentation at the Ministry of Education, Professional Development Center, Santiago, Chile

8/2006 Summer Institute under the auspices of the Initiative for Distance Learning, Stanford University held in Moscow, Russia.

3/2005 Building Equitable Classrooms. Keynote address. Closing the Gap Conference, sponsored by the Vermont Institute of Science, Math and Technology, Lake Morey, Vermont.

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