hero image
Michelle Bauml - Texas Christian University. Fort Worth, TX, US

Michelle Bauml

Associate Professor and Clotilda Winter Professor of Education | Texas Christian University


Dr. Bauml focuses on early childhood/elementary teacher education and teacher decision-making, civic education, and social studies.





loading image loading image loading image loading image





Michelle Bauml is the Clotilda Winter Professor of Education and an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences with an emphasis in social studies education. A former elementary teacher, Dr. Bauml’s research and teaching reflect her beliefs that children need ample opportunities for creative expression, play, and meaningful instruction in today’s schools. She conducts qualitative research aimed at helping teachers navigate professional complexities to make thoughtful, effective curricular and instructional decisions in order to promote student learning.

Dr. Bauml’s research focuses on early childhood/elementary teacher education and social studies curriculum and teaching. Among her publications, she has addressed teachers’ use of curriculum guides, content integration, civic education, and beliefs about teaching. For her case study of five first-year early childhood teachers making curricular and instructional decisions, Dr. Bauml received the John Laska Dissertation Award in 2012 and was a finalist for the American Educational Research Association’s Dissertation Award (Division K) in 2011.

As a core member of TCU’s Center for Public Education and Community Partnerships, Dr. Bauml strives to make an impact through teaching, research, and community outreach. Since 2016, she has directed the annual TCU iEngage Summer Civics Institute, a 5-day civics camp designed to teach middle schoolers about civic engagement through inquiry. Here, she studies connections between civic education and student learning while leading teams of TCU students to empower youth for active citizenship.

Prior to joining the faculty at TCU, Dr. Bauml taught at a Title 1 elementary school in the Houston area and coached beginning teachers in Houston ISD. She has extensive experience working with prospective and early career teachers, and she enjoys teaching undergraduate courses for the Early Childhood Education (EC-6) program and graduate courses in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2021, Dr. Bauml received a university Deans Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. She was also granted the Honorary Leon Jaworski Award for Teaching Excellence in Law Focused Education by the State Bar of Texas and Texas Young Lawyers Association in 2016.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Qualitative Research Methods

Teacher Knowledge and Beliefs

iEngage - Civics Education

Teacher Decision-Making

Elementary Social Studies Education

Early Childhood Teacher Education

Education (3)

The University of Texas at Austin: Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction 2010

University of St. Thomas-Houston: M.Ed., Educational Administration 2004

Texas A&M University-College Station: B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies 1992

Media Appearances (3)

TCU observes National Child Abuse Prevention Month

TCU 360  


“Because one aspect of Alliance For Children’s focus is education, partnering with TCU’s College of Education, Department of Social Work and Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development is a win-win for all involved,” said Michelle Bauml, an associate professor in the College of Education and co-chair of the TCU Pinwheel Project committee...

view more

Starpoint School Honors Veterans

TCU College of Education  online


Starpoint School students honored veterans with a ceremony held for the first time this year at the school on Friday, November 9. What started with a collaboration between Michelle Bauml, A.J. and Edna Pickett Endowment for the Clotilda Winter Professor of Education, and Lisa May, first year instructor at Starpoint, grew into a school-wide celebration that coincided with the 100 year anniversary of Armistice Day.

view more

Educating Our Youth to Become Good Citizens

The McCuistion Program  tv


Join us as we discuss the role of previous generations to educate future generations on civic responsibility.

view more

Articles (8)

“Who Cares?”: Young Adolescents’ Perceived Barriers to Civic Action

Research in Middle Level Education

Michelle Bauml, Victoria Davis Smith, Brooke Blevins

2022 While civic participation is a crucial component of healthy and sustainable democracies, young adolescents may perceive or experience barriers that limit their civic action. This study draws from focus groups and surveys during a week-long summer civics camp to explore ways in which 47 young adolescents entering Grades 6–9 described barriers they perceive to civic action in their schools and communities. Findings reveal that participants entered camp believing they were capable of making a difference in their communities. Their ideas for youth civic action in schools and broader communities typically represented personally responsible and participatory notions of citizenship. Key obstacles to civic activities included partnerships with peers/adults, peers’ reluctance to exercise civic duty, social-emotional factors, and lack of resources.

view more

“I Really Want to Do Something”: How Civic Education Activities Promote Thinking Toward Civic Purpose Among Early Adolescents

Journal of Adolescent Research

Michelle Bauml , Brandy P. Quinn, Brooke Blevins, Kevin R. Magill, Karon LeCompte

2021 Research has shown that youth and their communities benefit from civics education, with its aim to prepare citizens for democracy. However, civics education for adolescents in the United States is not equitable, and determining how to best measure aspects of civic development in younger adolescents is a challenge. In this qualitative study, we explored how the constructs of action civics and civic purpose might inform teachers, other practitioners, and researchers who are interested in understanding the kinds of educational opportunities that promote civic development in young adolescents. Specifically, we examined how activities characteristic of an action civics approach to civic education in the context of a week-long summer civics camp would influence young adolescents’ thinking across the dimensions of civic purpose. We conducted focus groups with 49 young adolescents (entering 5th-9th grades) as they participated in the civics camp, and we analyzed transcripts using qualitative content analysis. Our findings reveal four key considerations for promoting civic purpose development in young adolescents: the importance of adult guides, the significance of developmentally matched activities, opportunities for growth in educating diverse and marginalized youth in the civics camp setting, and action civics as a curricular mechanism for promoting civic purpose.

view more

Cultivating a mindset of civic engagement among young adolescents

The Journal of Social Studies Research

Brandy P. Quinn, Michelle Bauml

2018 This study explored early stages of civic engagement among 48 young adolescents by examining what they think about as a result of participating in various civic learning activities during a summer civics camp, and whether or not this thinking varied based on participants’ entering civic profiles. Participant thinking was assessed through concept maps. Based on survey data, participants were classified into entering profiles of civic development: justice-oriented or participatory youth; civically purposeful or not, and civically involved or not. Findings show that, of the eight camp activities studied, interactions with guest speakers from various community agencies were most likely to generate thinking about knowledge and civic action. Participant thinking did not differentiate in any consistent ways based on whether or not they were justice-oriented. However, there were differences in thinking when participants were classified by presence or absence of civic purpose and civic involvement.

view more

A Qualitative Study of Teachers’ Perceptions of Increased Recess Time on Teaching, Learning, and Behavior

Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Michelle Bauml, Mary Martin Patton, Deborah Rhea

2018 Recess in the United States is decidedly limited in elementary schools, despite numerous research findings that support unstructured play as a vehicle for development across multiple domains. It is widely understood that recess breaks promote prosocial behaviors, physical activity, and attentiveness in class. However, few researchers in the United States have explored effects of multiple daily recess periods on teaching, learning, and behavior. In this investigation, we report findings from interviews with 17 teachers who provide four recess periods daily. We describe the LiiNK Project, inspired by European approaches that provide recess breaks throughout each school day. Findings from this study extend existing knowledge about benefits of recess by providing teacher accounts about how multiple recess periods affect students cognitively, socially, and emotionally. Furthermore, this research makes a new contribution to the literature by reporting how teachers maximize instructional time while increasing daily recess from 15 to 60 min. Implications for school leaders and teachers are shared.

view more

Is it cute or does it count? Learning to teach for meaningful social studies in elementary grades.

Journal of Social Studies Research

Michelle Bauml

2016 In this study of 75 elementary preservice teachers, the author examined ways in which a social studies methods course affected beliefs and pedagogical approaches for meaningful social studies instruction. The study adds to the field's understanding of "what sticks" in teacher education.

Learning From Preservice Teachers’ Thoughts About Teaching in Urban Schools: Implications for Teacher Educators

Education and Urban Society

Michelle Bauml, Antonio J. Castro, Sherry L. Field, Deborah L. Morowski

2013 Preparing new teachers to work in urban schools has become a priority for many teacher education programs. This study explored 20 preservice teachers’ responses to a scenario about working in an urban school as a beginning teacher. Specific attention was placed on what participants believed were key challenges and concerns...

view more

“We Learned All About That in College”: The Role of Teacher Preparation in Novice Kindergarten/Primary Teachers' Practice

Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education

Michelle Bauml

2011 This qualitative case study reports how five first-year kindergarten/primary teachers utilized knowledge and skills from their teacher preparation program as a means of approaching curricular decision-making for instructional practice. In many ways, participants drew from university courses, field experiences, or both to help them make sense of their work and to guide their decisions. This was achieved as participants adopted, modified, imitated, or avoided what they learned during their teacher preparation program...

view more

Examining the Unexpected Sophistication of Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs About the Relational Dimensions of Teaching

Teaching and Teacher Education

Michelle Bauml

2009 Research on preservice teachers’ beliefs about professional teaching capabilities indicates strong attention to the relational dimension; these studies have contributed to a portrayal of preservice teachers as simplistic and overly optimistic about the teaching profession. In this article, I position preservice teachers’ attention to teacher–student relationships as a form of professional knowledge. Drawing from findings of a qualitative study of U.S. elementary (prekindergarten-Grade 4) preservice teachers who were asked to describe professional characteristics of effective teachers, I suggest their beliefs reveal surprisingly nuanced understandings about the complex nature of teaching.

view more