The Education Studies Department at Skidmore College offers a major in education studies that leads to initial teaching certification in New York State for elementary grades 1–6. Skidmore College is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). The college is working toward accreditation of its educator preparation programs under the AAQEP standards with an anticipated Quality Assurance Review in fall 2021.
The education studies major is innovative and premised on a constructivist view of education with social justice as a central goal. This pre-professional program provides extensive opportunities for working with children in varied school settings. Because the department is relatively small, faculty get to know our students well, developing close relationships with them as they support student coursework and field placements. There are opportunities for working in the Early Childhood Center lab school.
The Department of Education Studies’ content core and pedagogy build upon the knowledge base and core abilities gained from studies in the liberal arts and sciences. Education Studies majors and minors are prepared to enter careers in education and/or to continue on to graduate studies. The department is centered on developing pedagogical knowledge, teaching students to integrate and apply content knowledge from their liberal arts experience, and enhancing professional dispositions.
The department’s mission is to develop competent, knowledgeable, and reflective educators, who are capable of meeting the diverse learning and developmental needs of students within varied learning contexts. The department strives to expose students to the foundations and social context of education in the hope that as future educators they will work to create social justice. Education Studies graduates will be able to teach the relevant learning standards, to think through complex educational situations, to make effective teaching decisions, and to communicate ideas to students, colleagues, parents, and concerned citizens.
Premised on a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, faculty in the Department fo Education Studies prepare students for initial childhood certification (grades 1-6) in New York State. Constructivism is based upon cognitive learning theories that emphasize the importance of intrinsic motivation and individual learning styles in the construction of knowledge in a classroom culture that is driven by student interests or curiosities and focused on social collaboration and cooperative learning. Students are challenged to construct, to participate in, and to take responsibility for their own learning and continued professional development. Students integrate theory into practice at increasing levels of responsibility and sophistication during field placement experiences.
The Education Studies curriculum is designed to foster the following core knowledge,
abilities, and commitments: delivering the content knowledge of childhood education
programs; utilizing a constructivist model in instruction; applying critical thinking
and problem solving skills; practicing communication and social interaction skills;
integrating assessment and evaluation into reflective teaching practice; promoting
cross cultural perspectives; facilitating social justice and equity for all students;
and contributing as professional leaders. To foster these essential elements, the
department seeks to develop the following dispositions in students: self-directed
learning, a tolerance of ambiguity, patience, collaboration, acceptance and equity,
and reflective practice.