The Bates College Department of Education seeks to foster the democratic possibilities of schooling through the study of education in the United States and internationally. 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, community-engaged 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 schools and schooling. 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, most 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.