Department Mission and Vision

The Education Department at The College of Idaho is committed to improving student learning in K-12 classrooms by preparing teachers who have a thorough knowledge of content, educational theory, and best practices. The department works collaboratively with K-12 practitioners, professional organizations, and policy makers to improve the preparation of new teachers, as well as to support the development of practicing educators. The Education Department will extend and enhance The College of Idaho’s reputation and impact on the community, and within the education profession, by working with policy makers, practitioners, and professional organizations to improve the learning of K-12 students. Where possible, the department will act within the dynamic education environment to change policy that supports improved practice and to prepare new teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will empower them to operate within existing policies and institutions, while providing leadership that will influence the profession and practice in positive ways.

Department Core Values

  • All individuals are inherently valuable and should be treated with respect.
  • All individuals can learn.
  • Learning is enhanced when informed by a combination of research and best practice.
  • Educators should be people of integrity.
  • Regarding teaching and learning, the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts.

An Educative Learning Community

The Education Department at The College of Idaho strives to be an educative learning community. The conceptual framework of our programs is one based on John Dewey’s understanding of educative experiences that encourage personal and community growth (Dewey & Archambault, 1964). It is a community where students are provided with a reflective, caring environment so that the process of becoming a teacher can be explored. It is a community where students are offered a vision of schooling that promotes and helps create a more just and democratic society.


“The difference between mere circumstance and lived experiences is our capacity to bestow experience with meaning, be reflective, and take action.”

-John Dewey

  • Community of Learners: An educative learning community counters the image of the teacher as a “technician” with one of the teacher as an active participant in issues that affect the larger educational community (Apple & Beane, 2007). Rather than avoid a discussion of values, this perspective advocates the necessity of such discussions, because teaching is, at its core, a value-laden enterprise (Goodland, Soder, & Sirotnik, 1990). The program, based upon students who learn and grow together, encourages ongoing conversations about meaningful issues central to a liberal arts education.
  • Critical and Caring Pedagogy: An educative learning community takes the position that a hopeful, democratic future depends upon educators committed to emancipatory education (Giroux, 1997). It reflects Landon Beyers’ description of an emancipatory curriculum in teacher education as one that is designed to emphasize the following: equal access to knowledge, images of human equality, development of a “critical consciousness,” self-reflectivity, creativity, cultural acceptance, moral responsibility, democratic empowerment, and a pedagogy of caring (Beyer & Apple, 1998). It affirms Nel Noddings’ belief that for schools to be true centers of learning, they must embrace caring in all its forms—care for self, for intimate others, for associates and acquaintances, for distant others, for nonhuman animals, for plants and the physical environment, for the human-made world of objects and instruments, and for ideas (Noddings, 2005).
  • Constructivist Learning: An educative learning community takes a constructivist perspective toward classroom practice in which learning is seen as active, purposeful, and generated from within. This perspective, rooted in Piagetian principles of development and drawing on Vygotsky (Tryphon & Voneche, 1996), extends the notion of the construction of knowledge from one that is primarily an individualized and internal process to one that more comprehensively encompasses social foundations of thinking (Bruner, 1986). In this view, knowledge is not only embedded in socio-historical and socio-cultural elements, but is actually generated through shared interactions and individual internalization (Wertsch, 1991).