Amy W. Grillo

Visiting Lecturer in Psychology & Education

Amy Grillo's research interests include qualitative and ethnographic  study of school cultures and psychological dimensions of teaching and learning.

Recent work has included exploring the relationship between achievement and the development of a sense of personal agency through self-directed learning models in alternative high schools and in the Vermont prison system. Grillo has also begun investigating more closely the affective dimension of authentic dialogue and the quality of interpersonal connection between teacher and student when great teaching and learning take place.

As a teacher educator, she is interested in examining adult development as an aspect of effective teaching. Emphasizing that just as we need to know something about the emotional, social and cognitive development of students in order to teach them well, understanding the intersection of the teacher’s developmental tasks and orientation with those of the students she or he teaches will allow us to prepare and mentor teachers more effectively.

Finally, Grillo is interested in bringing knowledge of early childhood cognitive, physical, and social development to bear on current policy debates in education by illustrating, through qualitative and narrative research, the essential ways in which play-based and constructivist pedagogies can optimize development in all three of these domains.


  • Educational Psychology
  • Introduction to Developmental Psychology
  • Lab in Social & Personality Development

Selected Publications

Grillo - Angell, A. (2003). Teacher as Anthropologist. Education UpdateVol. VIII, No. 8, 16. New York, NY

Grillo, A. (2005). Elusive Discourse: Public Discussion about the Purpose of School.  Panel presentation: “Public Discourse and Education Policy: How we talk about schooling and why it matters”.  37th Annual Conference of the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO). Northampton, MA

Grillo, A. (2006). The Problem of the Liberal Arts College. Presentation, John Dewey and the Adult Learner in the Twenty-first Century: 2nd Annual Colloquium, Vermont College/Union Institute & University Chapter, AAUP, Montpelier, VT

Grillo, A. (2009). Encouraging Reflective Practice through the Licensure Portfolio Process. Paper presentation at Continuity and Collaboration conference of the Vermont Council of Teacher Educators/Vermont Department of Education, Burlington, VT

Grillo, A. (2011). Citizen’s Academy Charter School -- Marten Frazier: The Gradual Release Method (film)., Marion, MA