Education and Youth Studies Department Vision and Learning Goals

Our curriculum highlights a number of recurring themes that signal our commitments and our aspirations for students.

  1. Social Justice: In every course in our curriculum, students will encounter themes of social justice; each played in a different register. We emphasize social justice with respect to culture, race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, disabilities, indigenousness, youth and family, environment, and of course, in its manifestations in our social institutions, schools in particular.

    Our approaches are critical and complementary, spanning many disciplines. Students will learn not to rush to accept any one theory or faith, but come to understand the complexity of the questions, and accept their own moral responsibility to understand, and to take a position, and to be willing to change positions.

  2. Knowledge and Ways of Knowing: In every course in our curriculum, we stress the importance of engaging with, and understanding, the modes of inquiry that inform our knowledge and our ways of knowing.

    Our goal is for our students to come to see that there are many paths to knowledge and expertise, each with their own philosophical strengths and weaknesses, and that each must be evaluated, in context, on a variety of grounds. This means giving up ‘natural’ dispositions to learn in particular ways, and requires that students and faculty be willing to take risks and live with authenticity.

  3. Inclusive Pedagogy: In every course we teach, our faculty model and promote inclusive pedagogy in explicit ways.

    Our classrooms are intentionally created as learning communities in which student voice, agency, and mutuality are primary. Since most of our students will go on to become teachers themselves, or other kinds of professionals who interact with children and youth, an essential goal we have is for our students to learn how to create the same kinds of inclusive, respectful, and educationally responsible spaces.

  4. Broad Interaction and Networking: In every course in our curriculum, students are brought into contact with people, places, and ideas from outside their normal orbits.

    This means that an essential goal and purpose of our program is to instill in our students the need to enter into these relationships mindfully and to conduct themselves ethically and self-reflectively at all times. This interpersonal dimension is likewise foregrounded in all of our classrooms, which feature site- and content-specific varieties of sustained dialogue.

  5. Awareness and Reflection: In every course in our curriculum, faculty stress the importance of understanding the historical, philosophical, social, global/international, and psychological background of the issues in education and youth studies they are currently confronting, whether in the classroom or in the field.

    Students going on to become teachers and youth workers will develop good professional responsibility after knowing better what they are doing and why.

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