Dr. Parson’s current research interests include educational reform related to teacher education and social studies education particularly related to issues of social justice and diversity. She is also interested in collaborative research methodologies, urban education, and action/teacher research and self-study. Recently Dr. Parsons published a book with teachers from a mid-western urban school which describes the ways in which learning successes happen daily in a school that is labeled "failing" by its test scores. She is currently working on a research project in an urban Chicago school working collaboratively with teachers to integrated social studies and content area writing.

Key Professional Appointments

ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2005 - 

Department HeadCurriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2005 - 2006

ProfessorIntegrated Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, 1999 - 2004

Section HeadIntegrated Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, 1998 - 2001

Associate ProfessorIntegrated Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, 1991 - 1999

Assistant ProfessorIntegrated Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, 1988 - 1991

Visiting ProfessorTeacher Education, Michigan State University, 1987 - 1988

Associate ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, University of Utah, 1986 - 1988

Assistant ProfessorCurriculum & Instruction, University of Utah, 1979 - 1986


Ph.D., Cultural Foundations, University of Utah, 1997

M.A., Education, California State University, Long Beach, 1969

B.A., Elementary Education, California State University, Long Beach, 1964

Research & Service

My current research interests include educational reform related to teacher education and social studies education particularly related to issues of social justice and diversity. I use socio-cultural, post-colonial, and post-structural feminist perspectives to frame my research. I recently was working on a project in an urban Chicago school working collaboratively with teachers to integrated social studies and content area writing.

I recently published a book, Dialogue and Difference in a Teacher Education Program: A 16-Year Sociocultural Study of a PDS, that is a longitudinal study of an experimental, collaborative teacher education program at the Ohio State University and the Professional Development School (PDS) that was the central focus of our work together. Begun in 1992, this book traces the program's development, philosophy, practices, and a follow-up with the graduates of this program.

I am interested in collaborative and narative research methodologies, urban education, and teacher education reform. I regularly do action research/self-studies of my own teaching.


Johnston-Parsons, M. (2010) Focus on Policy: Dreaming of collaboration Language Arts

Christenson, M., Kerper, R., Boyd, B., Lynch, C., Dyer, J., Green, P., al, e., Parsons, M. (2009) Doctoral students as boundary spanners: Complexity and ambiguity for university supervisors within an M.Ed./PDS project School-University Partnerships

Johnston-Parsons, M., Lee, Y., Thomas, J. (2007) Students of color as cultural consultants: A self-study of race and social justice issues in a teacher education program Studying Teaching Education

Johnston-Parsons, M., Wilson, M., Bernardi, J., Bowling, M., Karl, M., Lloyd, E., McCualsky, M., al, e. (2007) Success stories from a failing school: Teachers living under the shadow of NCLB.. Information Age: Charlotte, NC

Saud, U., Johnston, M., Parsons, M. (2006) Cross-cultural influences of educational reform: A case study of Indonesian teacher education Journal of Education for Teaching

Johnston, M., Parsons, M. (2006) The mirror and the lamp: Action research and self studies in the social studies. Research methods in social studies education: Contemporary issues and perspectives Information Age: New York

Johnston, M., Thomas, M., Parsons, M. (2005) The benefits and burdens of ETS portfolio evaluation on early career principals in Ohio.. Educational Administration Quarterly

Griffin, M., Bass, L., Johnston, M., Perselli, V., Parsons, M. (2004) Knowledge, social justice and self study. The international handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices Kluwer Academic: Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Johnston, M., Christenson, M., Norris, J., Parsons, M. (2001) Teaching together: School/university collaboration in the social studies.. National Council for the Social Studies: Washington, DC

Johnston, M., Parsons, M. (2001) Constructing ourselves: An evolving philosophy in the Open Classroom. Learning together: Children and adults in a school community Oxford University Press: New York

Johnston, M., Brosnan, P., Cramer, D., Dove, T., Parsons, M. (2000) Collaborative reform and other improbable dreams: Professional development schools at The Ohio State University.. SUNY Press: New York

Johnston, M., Parsons, M. (1997) Contradictions in collaboration: New thinking on school/university partnerships.. Teachers College Press: New York


Principal InvestigatorUS/Indonesia Teacher Education Consortium (USINTEC) Workshops, National Science Foundation (Ohio State University), 6/1/2007 12:00:00 AM - 6/30/2008 12:00:00 AM


Member of journal editorial board2009 - 2012

member, Board, John Dewey Society2006 - 2009


Programs in Teacher Education The focus of this course will be a study of programs in teacher education considered in light of historical, social, and policy influences and also related to wider issues in contemporary teacher education efforts and research. We will consider the current context of teacher preparation programs in the U.S., examine the historical factors that have brought U.S. teacher education to this point, assess the influence of public policy on teacher education in the U.S. and globally, and study a variety of exemplary models of teacher education in the U.S. and globally. Students will conduct a study of a particular program and present this in a poster session at the end of the semester.

Tchg Elem Social Studies Course examines the nature and role of social studies in elementary schools, both in terms of the formal curriculum and of the impact of the school as a social system on children's social learning. Examines multiple approaches to what should be experienced and learned in social studies as well as the nature of social inquiry. Various instructional methods emphasizing direct experiences as well as reading are emphasized. Local, state, and national trends in curriculum and evaluation are addressed. Students engage in social inquiry, as well as develop, implement, and evaluate an action research project focusing in depth on a particular practice of social education. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Admission to the Elementary Teacher Education Program.

Curriculum Research Reviews the principal methodologies used in research on curriculum problems; emphasizes subject-analytical, large-scale survey, experimental, case methods, and clinical studies; emphasizes the conceptual and practical problems in such research.

Marilyn Parsons

Professor, Curriculum & Instruction



319 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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