UW Bothell prepares innovative, ethical practitioners who are grounded in intellectual and professional communities and who are dedicated to educating diverse students.
Collaboration within our educational communities strengthens our resolve and enhances our success in preparing teachers who will advance the intellectual lives of their students while helping them to live responsibly in our racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse society.
The Teacher Certification Program is continually revitalized through the collaborative efforts of the Program faculty and staff and the teachers, principals, and other school administrators who serve on the Professional Education Advisory Board. This commitment is summarized in our program's mission statement and elaborated in our conceptual framework.
Innovation in Times of Educational Change
Recent reforms have added complexity to the work of teachers and have introduced new demands to public school classrooms. While some models of school reform assume the passive complicity of teachers, our program, in locating teaching within broader questions of the purposes of schooling in a democratic society, challenges future teachers to engage in thoughtful and innovative professional practice. Innovation is presented as a means to meet the changing character of the student population and our expanding knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning.
Currently, the Standards Movement is focusing unprecedented attention on curriculum reform and on the nature of "knowing". The Standards documents of the State of Washington and of the various national curriculum organizations contain clear and compelling arguments for "teaching for understanding", for contextualizing knowledge, and for applying what is learned in "real life" situations. Within the spirit of innovation, we expect our interns to understand the disciplinary nature of the subjects they will be teaching, to align curriculum and instruction with children's cognitive development, and to see their roles as facilitators of children's development and as practitioners competent in assessing children's progress towards learning.
Innovation Grounded in Knowledge of Students and Learning
Our Teacher Certification Program is built on a foundation of constructivist perspectives on cognitive development. Constructivism has challenged traditional conceptions of what it means to "know" and what it means to learn. For much of the history of formal education teaching was viewed as synonymous with "telling." Constructivist teaching assumes more active, more contextualized, and more engaged learning.
We are educating future teachers who are thoughtful about their own learning and can therefore be more thoughtful about the learning of their students. We encourage critical thinking through extensive reading and reflective writing. We promote problem solving through interdisciplinary projects, joint inquiry, and analysis of multiple resources. We ask for self-assessment through journaling, performance critiques, and portfolios. Our program strives to teach our own students as we would have them teach their students.
Our program prepares interns to be mindful of their ethical and professional commitments to teaching all the children in their classrooms and to the moral purposes of schooling in a democratic society. Ethical practice includes grounding professional decision-making in the broader discourse of professional practice and policy rather than more individualistic justifications. Thus, our program helps interns understand that ethical practice requires them to remain deeply engaged in their fields throughout their careers and to act as public, not free agents.
Further, we encourage our interns to recognize that schooling in democracy involves learning to thrive within ideological diversity as well as ethnic and class diversity. We help them understand how curriculum and pedagogy can be constructed to honor the strengths and beliefs of all children. We assist them in the development of skills for working with parents and community services to support the well-being and success of their students as well as their emerging beliefs and ideals. We encourage them, in turn, to educate their own students to understand that the purpose of education is the creation of a just and democratic society which respects and values differences.
Practice Grounded in Intellectual and Professional Communities
Teachers accepting the invitation to teach in more innovative and more authentic ways require support in their experimentation, resources to address their questions, and the collegiality of peers and faculty. In our Teacher Certification Program, interns are expected to contribute to the professional development of members of their cohort. Faculty, academic support staff, and field instructors, together with the master teachers in the schools, evidence collaborative decision-making and, where appropriate, engage the interns in that process. Field placements in dyads and small groups demonstrate for interns the potential for professional development in collaborative models of teaching. Because our interns participate in rich professional and intellectual communities, we anticipate that they will develop as teachers who cultivate community within their classrooms and their schools.
Dedication to Educating Diverse Students
In our Teacher Education program we are committed to preparing future teachers who are dedicated to educating diverse students. Our interns engage in focused course work in multicultural education. Their study is complemented by courses in pedagogy that stress the ways in which curriculum and instruction can respond to differences in student learning as well as differences between students themselves. Field placements within our program are designed to give interns experiences in several different settings where they can encounter the wide variations among students and their schools. We support our interns as they struggle to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to teach an increasingly diverse student population.