About the Department

Mission Statement

The Department of Teaching and Learning is committed to preparing educators to work toward equity and justice in a range of education settings, and against the exploitation, exclusion, and marginalization of humans. We aim to do so by combining well-informed educational approaches and teaching strategies with critical examination of relevant sociopolitical contexts. Thus, we are committed to helping current and future teachers as they engage in well-informed ways of thinking about their worlds. Our hope is that this will enable them to make sense of, and take action in, complex social moments and settings. This includes respecting the perspectives and experiences of students, teachers and community members who may identify themselves in any variety of ways. In addition, we recognize that thoughtful educational praxis requires thinking and action at multiple levels: individual, communal, and systemic. We are dedicated to helping teachers as they make meaningful connections between classroom practice, theories and research, educational policy, and the sociopolitical contexts within which individuals and groups exist.
Our mission is to prepare professionals who possess the knowledge, skills and dispositions to transform early childhood, elementary, secondary, and life-long literacy education in the service of social justice, inclusivity and democratic values. As a department, we strive collectively with our students to ensure that their teaching is grounded in the following ideals:
  • Respect for the value and high expectations for the learning of every person is a fundamental principle of teaching and learning.
  • All students must be engaged in meaningful and intellectually rigorous learning.
  • Collaboration with families, schools and communities is imperative.
  • Teaching and learning are social processes with political implications.
  • Educators are cultural and political workers who acknowledge their role in a democracy through the promotion of inclusivity and social justice.
  • Critical education is a transformative process that works to change “what is” while simultaneously preparing people to participate in “what is yet to be.”
  • Educators have a responsibility to recognize and disrupt privilege and oppression related to race, gender, LGBTQ identities, disability, immigration and linguistic differences, religious diversity and class.
  • Making positive social change requires taking initiative through collaborative and collegial engagement with other members of the school and local community.