Middle, Secondary & Mathematics Education

Office: Memorial Hall 3265A
Phone: (540) 568-4314


Dr. Melanie Shoffner is Professor of Education in the College of Education’s Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education at James Madison University.  Her research, writing and teaching focus on issues arising from, related to and influential for secondary English teacher preparation. Her current work explores the development and use of meaningful reflective practice, the role of affective and relational elements in teacher preparation, and the dispositional development through international study. She is currently directing the College of Education’s Semester in Salamanca program and teaches courses in ELA methods, curriculum theory and student teaching.

In 2016-2017, Dr. Shoffner was a Fulbright Scholar in the Faculty of Letters at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, teaching courses in adolescent literature, pedagogy and American culture. Prior to joining JMU, she held a joint appointment in the Departments of English and Curriculum & Instruction at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) and taught high school English Language Arts in North Carolina and Arizona.

Areas of Specialty

  • English Language Arts teacher education
  • Young Adult literature
  • Reflective practice
  • Preservice teacher dispositions


  • PhD    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Education: Culture, Curriculum & Change
  • MAT    Duke University – English Education
  • AB      Duke University – English and History

Fun Fact

Once met the great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

Recent Publications

Edited books

  • Shoffner, M., & St. Peter, R. (eds.) (2020). Teacher representations in dramatic text and performance: Portraying the teacher on stage. New York: Routledge. 
  • Shoffner, M. (ed). (2016).  Exploring teachers in fiction and film: Saviors, scapegoats and schoolmarms.  New York:   Routledge.
  • de Oliveira, L.C., & Shoffner, M. (eds). (2016). ELA teachers and ELL students: Preparing English Language Arts teachers to teach English Language Learners.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal articles

  • Shoffner, M. (2019). “Being uncomfortable is important”: The potential of study abroad for preservice English teachers’ professional development. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 14(3), 93-108.
  • Homan, E. C., Shoffner, M., & Spanke, J. (2019). Intersections of teacher reflection and literacy instruction in the secondary ELA classroom. Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy, and the Arts, 5(2), 39-67. Found at
  • Shoffner, M. (2018). Disrupting the world as we know it: Addressing racism in ELA education. Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online]. Found at
  • Kroeger, E., & Shoffner, M. (2018). Critical literacy in London: Developing preservice teachers’ critical literacy during study abroad. Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy, and the Arts, 5(1), 65-88. Found at

Book chapters

  • Shoffner, M. (2019). The potential of problematic practice: Preparing teachers for the secondary ELA classroom.  In H. L. Hallman, K. Pastore-Capuana, & D. L. Pasternak (Eds.), Possibilities, challenges, and changes in English teacher education today: Exploring identity and professionalization (pp. 39-50). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Shoffner, M. (2019). When the gun isn’t metaphorical: Educating teachers in the age of school shootings. In S. Bickmore, G. Rumohr-Voskuil, & S. Shaffer (Eds.), Teaching beyond fear: Arming teachers with words, stories, and power (pp. 125-131). New York: Routledge.
  • Shoffner, M. (2018). The professor abroad: Crossing the pedagogical border. In Garbett, D. & Ovens, A., (Eds). Pushing boundaries and crossing borders: Self-study as a means for researching pedagogy (pp. 287-293). Herstmonceux, UK: Creative Commons.
  • George, M. A., & Shoffner, M. (2018). The teacher’s conundrum: Choosing literature for adolescents in a standards-obsessed world. In Goodwyn, A., Durrant, C., Reid, L., and Scherff, L. (Eds). International Perspectives on the Teaching of Literature in Schools: Global Principles and Practices. New York: Routledge.

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