"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity OR it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world." -Paulo Freire
The Education Department at Connecticut College aims to develop teachers as intellectuals and mediators of social change with solid academic records and a strong commitment to their professional life. Critical pedagogies underlie our departmental curriculum, so students must attain high levels of achievement within their discipline(s). That is, they must demonstrate understanding of the major concepts, assumptions, processes of inquiry and ways of knowing central to their discipline(s). Moreover it is expected that students learn to interrogate this knowledge base as they critically engage power/knowledge relations that (re)produce social and educational inequalities.
The departmental curriculum is designed for students who wish to become professional educators. However, we are not a "how to" program, nor do we offer lock-step "training." Our goal is to prepare educators who see schooling as an opportunity to create a multiracial, multi-vocal democracy capable of addressing the serious social, economic and environmental issues in contemporary society. We are proud that our alumni teach in schools and educational settings throughout the world.
The goals of the program are:
- To educate teachers who understand that excellence in teaching begins with deep knowledge and a critical understanding of their subject matter as a means of developing high standards of achievement and excellence for their K-12 students.
- To educate teachers who understand that education and schooling are shaped by larger socio-historical, political, economic, and geographic contexts.
- To educate teachers who construct critical pedagogies that are situated in and shaped by local contexts and community knowledge.
- To educate teachers who understand the relationship between power and knowledge and who create classrooms as critical sites of action where essential questions about (in)justice as related to opportunity, conditions and outcomes are addressed.
- To educate teachers who understand literacy as having multiple dimensions, forms and functions that develop both inside and outside of schools. Literacies are meaning-making processes in which dynamics of power, voice, access, identities and representation are operating.
- To educate teachers who understand assessment and evaluation as forms of inquiry and ongoing processes of reflection and praxis.
The Education Department at Connecticut College is a member of the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE), along with Barnard, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Brown, Bryn Mawr, Dartmouth, Harvard, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke, Princeton, Smith, Swarthmore, the University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Wellesley, and Wheaton. These member institutions share a common commitment to a broad liberal arts education for those entering the teaching profession.
Connecticut College, specifically, offers a wide range of opportunities to explore topics and issues interdisciplinarily. The College's five interdisciplinary academic centers are hubs for such inquiry. In addition to working toward a wide range of academic majors and minors, education students have the opportunity to enrich their studies through participation in interdisciplinary certificate programs offered by the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, and the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), as well as to expand their understandings of race and ethnicity through the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and its many offerings.