Guiding Principles

What we do

  • Prepare teachers who are committed to a just, sustainable future for all generations
  • Prepare teachers who are able to engage in systems thinking
  • Provide tools and experiences to develop teachers who are change agents who can understand and work within existing structures to transform systems
  • Hold and nurture space for the development of communities of learners
  • Foster creativity and mindfulness
  • Engage in respectful community dialog given a variety of viewpoints and perspectives
  • Create contexts in which everyone can express their experiences with confidence, knowing they will be heard with sensitivity

We believe

  • Teaching and learning are collaborative and are built on critical inquiry processes
  • Learning is a reciprocal, on-going process, requiring openness to new ideas
  • Effective democratic teachers build on the valuable knowledge and assets students bring to the learning process
  • In honoring and supporting the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.
  • In recognizing that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings.
  • In promoting social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible

We center social justice with the assertions that

  • Systems of power and privilege give rise to inequities in society
  • Justice requires a critical analysis of social, cultural and institutional systems and how they contribute to inequity
  • Critical self-reflection helps us understand the beliefs and positions we hold, our world view, and where those perspectives come from
  • Staying open to other points of view, and understanding and valuing the lived experiences of others is a central requisite of working toward a more just society

We promote the development of critical inquiry by

  • Helping teacher candidates develop curiosity and the need to know
  • Building powers of deep observation, listening, and interpretation
  • Engaging school and community members in action research
  • Using critical inquiry as a pedagogical tool
  • Conducting inquiry at all levels – personal, classroom, systems

Candidates who thrive in our program possess and continue developing abilities to

  • Display curiosity and open-mindedness toward the life experiences and perspectives of others
  • Listen to and observe student thinking
  • Demonstrate intercultural understanding
  • Employ critical consciousness
  • Engage with and appreciate ambiguity
  • Acknowledge and adapt to the tensions of critical communities and democratic processes
  • Have an assets-based approach to students and to one another as colleagues
  • Be flexible and ready to adapt when needed