Conceptual Framework

The Education Department infuses Bowdoin College's spirit of inquiry and commitment to the common good by connecting the history of schooling, educational theories, and pedagogical approaches to the dilemmas facing schools and teachers today.  The curriculum broadens and deepens students' understanding of contemporary issues in education, educational foundations, and teaching and learning.  Courses at all levels involve a variety of field experiences that engage students in schools and classrooms.

At each level of the curriculum - from introductory classes to seminars in curriculum and teaching - students are exposed to the three tenets that guide Bowdoin's Education Department:

1. BE AWARE OF THE BIG PICTURE.  The study of education sheds light on one of the United States' fundamental public institutions and on the humanistic dimensions of teaching and learning that are vital to constructing a meaningful life.  Responsible teaching depends upon a solid background in the social foundations of education.

2. EMBRACE THEORY AND PRACTICE.  Effective teaching builds on a strong foundation of content knowledge and thoughtful application of curricular and pedagogical theory to practice.  Teachers gain expertise by listening, observing, doing, and reflecting.

3. MODEL AND LIVE IN THE SPIRIT OF INQUIRY. Excellent teachers position themselves as learners of their students and communities, and adjust their curricula, pedagogies, and use of technology to meet the needs of individuals. Teachers cannot assume that others will learn as they did and do and cannot teach simply as they were taught. Teaching is an intellectually challenging practice that requires ongoing learning, self-assessment, collaboration, and research.