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Peter Thacker EdD

School of Education, Associate Professor

Peter Thacker EdD



Franz Hall 427

My Resume/CV

Background Narrative

Peter Thacker came to UP in 2003 after over 30 years of teaching high school English and reading, 27 in Portland Public Schools. He concentrates primarily on literacy and language arts, but is eclectic in his interests. Peter is committed to graduating teachers who have a deep understanding of their discipline and know how to work with students so they become ever more literate in all disciplines. He draws his philosophy of education from thinkers who have demonstrated that we all construct knowledge by fusing the new to the known. Making connections between what we have learned in and out of school to new experiences builds an ever-growing set of new understandings. That means that students must be inquirers into the world. It is their questions, not teachers’, which drive learning. Peter also believes that all students can learn; it is our responsibility to find ways to reach them. That means knowing our students developmentally, cognitively, and culturally. We must be what Yetta Goodman calls strong “kid watchers.” Each year he has been at UP, Peter has taught and collaborated with students in presenting at professional conferences. He aims to graduate students who see themselves as lively, flexible, smart teachers ready to make teaching a thirty year calling. His door is always open to those who want to talk education and think about bettering our schools. Peter is very active in the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. He is on its Executive Board and also the Editorial Board for the Oregon English Journal. Last spring, he guest edited its themed edition, “Old Literacies, New Literacies,” which was chosen for national distribution by the National Council of Teachers of English. Peter is also active in the Oregon Reading Association for whom he has written a thrice yearly column “The Secondary Desk” for close to twenty years. In this column, he alerts teachers to new trends in literacy education, sometimes highlighting strong literacy practices he observes in classrooms, sometimes editorializing on trends in the field. Peter’s research and writing converge around helping students to find their internal voice with peers, in school, and in society. Having worked his entire career with adolescents who haven’t read well, he concentrates on bringing these students to the circle of learners and contributors to society. Peter’s publications range from essays on Jonathon Kozol, an educational critic who believes deeply in the ability of all children, to methods that engage teachers in gaining empathy for struggling students, to descriptions of successful lessons that invite students to read and write because they are so engaged by what they are learning. Peter is currently working on a book that examines the writings of Kozol, John Holt, and Herb Kohl, seminal educational reformers in the 1960’s, re-examining their underlying philosophies and practices to remind our assessment-crazed educational establishment of how children learn from the inside and how we as teachers can bring students’ innate need to know to the surface. Peter loves to teach and he loves to learn.


  • Doctor of Education, Harvard University
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, Lewis & Clark College
  • Bachelor of Arts, Antioch College