Department Learning Goals

Core Values of the Education Department

The Education Department fuses Bowdoin College's spirit of inquiry and commitment to the common good by connecting the history of schooling, educational theories, and pedagogical approaches to contemporary educational dilemmas. Courses at all levels involve a variety of field experiences that engage students in schools, classrooms, and other educational contexts.

The following core values guide all aspects of the Education Department’s curriculum and instruction—from introductory classes to upper-level seminars:

  1. Be aware of the big picture. The study of education sheds light on one of the fundamental public institutions of the United States. Such study also reveals the humanistic dimensions of teaching and learning that are vital to constructing a meaningful life. Responsible teaching and informed dialogue about education depend upon a solid background in the social foundations of education.

  2. Embrace theory and practice. Theoretical and text-based inquiries, as well as empirical studies of all kinds, provide a basis for understanding the purpose and practice of education. For teachers, effective practice depends upon a strong foundation of content knowledge and thoughtful application of curricular and pedagogical theory to practice. Teachers and students at all levels of education gain expertise by listening, observing, doing, and reflecting.

  3. Model and live in the spirit of inquiry. Students and instructors in the Education Department position themselves first as learners about those they teach and about the communities in which they teach. They recognize the limitations of their own perspectives and the need to draw on multiple sources of knowledge. Students and instructors in the Education Department believe that teachers, especially, cannot assume that others will learn as they did and do.  Therefore, teachers cannot teach only as they were taught. Teaching is an intellectually challenging practice that requires ongoing learning, self-assessment, collaboration, and research.

Learning Goals

  • Students analyze policies, dilemmas, and debates about public schooling from anthropological, historical, philosophical, and/or sociological perspectives.

  • Students demonstrate their understanding of the diverse ways individuals and groups make meaning and interpret their experiences of education

  • Students create well-reasoned and research-based arguments to support their beliefs about quality teaching and learning in multiple contexts.