The Bates College Department of Education seeks to foster the democratic possibilities of schooling through the study of American public education and other comparative systems. The aim of the department is to create an environment in which students and faculty together analyze the complex dynamics between the purposes and products of schooling, and the social structures and cultural processes that constitute the broader context for education. In particular, the department aims to nurture in students the development of these qualities:
Critical action and civic responsibility: The department wants students to develop a sense of social responsibility and concern for the common good, and so encourages them to become involved in the local community and beyond through fieldwork, service-learning projects, policy analysis, student teaching, and empirical research.
Reflection and engagement: In the department's vision of education, reflection and engagement work together to deepen students' understanding and foster their personal growth.
Imagination and a passion for learning: With imagination, a passion for learning, and the skills and knowledge they develop, students are well-prepared to pursue their interests in education.
Commitment to social justice: Throughout the program, students are encouraged to recognize and address the influence of social context on the democratic possibilities of schooling.
Because education itself is an interdisciplinary area of study, the education department offers courses that attract students with a variety of interests. Some pursue educational studies as part of their exploration of liberal arts at Bates. Some want to teach immediately after they graduate from Bates or following graduate study. Others link their interest in social institutions, public policy, community, or families and children to a direct and deeper understanding of American schools. Many students simply want to know more about education so that they can be better prepared to fulfill their future roles as citizens and parents. To encourage the integration of theory and practice, education courses require a field placement in a local school or community setting. Students are expected to reflect systematically on the larger questions surrounding educational structures and practices raised through field experiences. More information on the education department is available on the website (www.bates.edu/EDUC.xml).
Minor. The Bates Department of Education offers a minor in education with two strands available—teacher education and educational studies—for students interested in connecting their academic interests in a major discipline with the field of education. In both strands, students are required to take EDUC 231 (Perspectives on Education). This course introduces students to the field through foundational perspectives that stimulate further interest in education; it is open to first-year students. Students interested in declaring a minor in education are encouraged to come to information sessions offered twice during the academic year and to make appointments with education faculty for early planning and advisement.
Teacher education offers graduates the ability to complete certification as public school teachers (7–12) in several disciplines including English, social studies, science, mathematics, and modern languages (K–12). Certification in art or music may be available through transcript analysis; interested students should consult the director of teacher education. The program is approved by the Maine State Board of Education, and students who receive Maine certification gain opportunities to teach through reciprocity with approximately forty other states. Some students may choose to enroll in the teacher education program even if they are interested in teaching in an independent school where certification is not required because they gain significant experience in the classroom and thus are better prepared for the challenges they will face when they enter a classroom on their own for the first time.
Educational studies offer students the opportunity to pursue a set of courses that are designed around students' emerging interests and their developing goals for future work and study in educational fields. Many students interested in eventual certification at the elementary school level gain significant background and experience in the electives offered by the department and prepare for certification through summer programs or graduate school.
Students who wish to pursue a minor in education in either teacher education or educational studies should begin planning their course schedules no later than the sophomore year. With early planning they will be able to meet all of the requirements for a major and minor and to spend some time in off-campus study as well. Those students interested in certification need to think about how to manage the demands of student teaching in their senior year with their course work and thesis.
Minor in Education (Teacher Education Strand). Requirements for the College's recommendation for certification in Maine as secondary school teacher include: 1) EDUC 231, 362; a department elective other than FYS 300; and all of the following: 447, 448, 460, and 461, including field experience in conjunction with each of these courses; 2) a major in an appropriate teaching field, although some fields may require additional courses; 3) fulfillment of the College's General Education and other degree requirements; and 4) fulfillment of state requirements, which include passing a standardized test and fingerprinting. Note that licensing of teachers is a state function; requirements differ from state to state, and these rules change frequently. Courses and experiences other than those offered at Bates may be required. Students interested in certification should consult with a faculty member as early as possible to plan for required course work. Applications must be completed by 1 March of the sophomore year.
Minor in Education (Educational Studies Strand). Students choosing this option must complete seven courses. This minor requires that six of the seven courses be Department of Education courses. EDUC 231 is required for all students. Each education course requires at least thirty hours of field experience (such as tutoring or action research) in educational settings or fieldwork related to education more generally, such as research on policy. Students may apply to have an off-campus program or course count as one of the six required education courses. These requests require the prior approval of education faculty. Students are required to take EDUC 450 (Seminar in Educational Studies) in their senior year. Students design and complete a culminating project in educational studies, which may include field placement. Students are strongly advised to begin preliminary planning and application as soon as possible.
Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may be elected for courses applied toward the minor.
Title II "Report Card." An amendment to Title II, Higher Education Act (HEA), passed by Congress in 1998, requires that states and institutions with teacher-preparation programs annually report to the public certain program information, including the pass rates of program participants on assessments required by the state for teacher certification. Maine requires Praxis I tests in reading, writing, and mathematics as well as the Praxis II subject matter test in the chosen area of certification. Bates College requires only Praxis I passing scores for consideration of program completion. 100 percent of Bates program completers for 2009–2010 who took the Praxis I examination earned passing scores required for Maine certification. 100 percent of those students taking Praxis II earned passing scores in each student's respective academic content area. Five students were enrolled in the program as seniors in 2009–2010 (a student-faculty ratio of approximately 3 to 1). The current requirement for clinical experience in the program is 450 hours. Further information about the program's annual report is available from the chair of the department and the director of the teacher education program.