Conceptual Framework and Program Themes
The Master in Teaching (MiT) program faculty believe the MiT program’s success lies as much in the learning processes used to investigate the content as it does in the content itself. Though particular subject matter content is taught, the processes are also “content.” Community building, seminars, collaborative learning, group problem solving, extensive field experiences and critical and reflective thinking are not just ideas MiT candidates read about and are then directed to use when they teach. Rather, these are the processes used daily in the program to help graduate students learn to become skilled, competent professionals who can assume leadership roles in curriculum development, child advocacy, assessment and anti-bias work. The MiT program is centered on the exploration of how public education might meet the needs of the diverse groups of people who live in this democracy. The program examines what it means to base teacher education and public education on multicultural, democratic, and developmental perspectives and how evidence-based assessment can promote these values. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the following three major themes inform both the content and associated processes of the program throughout the MiT curriculum.
Social Justice and Multicultural Theory and Practice
We construct curriculum based on Evergreen’s strong commitment to diversity because we believe that both teaching and learning must draw from many perspectives and include a multiplicity of ideas. Rather than erasing or marginalizing differences, we examine and consciously act on differences such as ethnicity, race, class, gender, gender expression, culture, religion, language, ability, and sexual identities. We expose Master in Teaching candidates to the consequences of their multicultural encapsulation to assist them in developing critical consciousness and equity pedagogies. Future teachers must provide K-12 students with culturally responsive, equitable learning experiences, and opportunities to develop critical consciousness.
Democracy and Schooling
We believe democracy is a multi-dimensional concept. We guide teacher candidates toward professional action and reflection on the implications of the teacher’s role in enacting a) democratic classroom learning environments that are learner-centered and collaborative and that empower student voices; and b) democratic, school-based decision-making that is inclusive of parents, community members, school personnel and students. We analyze schooling in relationship to the structures of power and privilege and what it means to work and learn in a democracy operating within a state-supported, advanced capitalist economy. We help candidates to understand the evolution of our current democracy and to critique practices that exclude particular groups from equitable participation in society.
Developmentally and Socio-culturally Appropriate Teaching and Learning
We know that no single instructional model or limited set of teaching methods fully responds to the complex, culturally situated, cognitive processes associated with learning. Student competence is located in cultural practices. Our curriculum reflects the varied cultural, language, social, emotional, physiological and cognitive growth processes that shape how children andyouth receive, construct, interpret and act on their experiences. We believe instruction must be built on assessing students’ prior knowledge and interests and their communities’ funds of knowledge. From this foundation, teachers need to develop culturally relevant, interdisciplinary, developmentally appropriate curriculum that invites active engagement and expands learner interests.