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.
Teaching and learning in heterogeneous classrooms; teacher education; sociology of the classroom; social organization of schools.
Access and Equity
Credentialing / Preparation
Curriculum and Instruction
Small Group Instruction and Interaction
Sociology of Education
Sociology of the Classroom
Teacher Education and Certification
"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
Time at Stanford
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 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.