David Dickinson, Ed.D.

Margaret Cowan Chair and Professor of Teacher Education, Department of Teaching and Learning; Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Planning


David Dickinson, Ed.D.

Contact Info

(615) 343-4792


263 Wyatt Center

Overview of Interests

Dr. Dickinson’s research is focused on understanding the emergence of literacy, with particular concern for the role of oral language in short- and long-term literacy success. This basic research interest is being pursued as he investigates learning and development among children from low-income backgrounds, many of whom are from racial minority groups. These children frequently have extremely low oral language competencies due to limitations in home support for language, and these low levels of language place them at significant risk of long-term literacy failure. These are the children who often are identified as reading and learning disabled once they reach school. They also include disproportionate numbers of children with behavioral disorders. Dr. Dickinson’s research involves examining ways that variability in the quality of support provided by preschool classrooms affects children’s development. In addition, because of the limited training and supervisory supports available to many teachers, he focuses on ways that teachers can be helped to more effectively foster children’s language and early literacy growth.


View Biographical Sketch (.pdf)