Mission & Philosophy
Though faculty and students believe in and practice a variety of educational philosophies and methods, everyone is bound together in a set of shared beliefs. We believe that
- schools must teach respect for both the individual and the social community;
- good teaching develops from a dialectic between experience and reflection;
- a balance needs to be struck between cultivating rational, logical thought and artistic, intuitive knowledge in the education of the child.
We work to improve the quality of education for children by supporting prospective and experienced teachers in their growth toward reflective teaching, which:
- addresses the needs of the whole child;
- encourages learning through connected meaningful experiences;
- respects students, acknowledges developmental and individual differences, and encourages building on strengths;
- fosters autonomy and responsibility in the learner, respect for oneself and others, and emphasizes cooperation over competition;
- draws on the thoughts and experience of those with similar aims in the past.
Toward this end, faculty devise innovative methods of teaching based on sound theories of learning. Recent research in neurophysiology and cognitive science has had a profound impact on how we think about children in the classroom.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the education programs at Antioch University New England lies in the relationship between philosophy and pedagogy. Noted educator Herb Kohl related the feeling of a group of visiting European educators who found that what characterized schooling in the United States was a lack of informed coherent thought about what could be called the philosophy of teaching and learning. In our programs, major emphasis is placed on clarifying a teacher’s vision of the possible person and society and translating this into a plan of action for the classroom curriculum.
We seek people excited about exploring the implications of these beliefs. We provide a setting that supports personal reflection and professional growth with a small group of committed peers and teachers. We believe that teachers bring the richness of their life experiences into their classrooms. We encourage students from the widest variety of work and living backgrounds to join us. Diversity within a context of philosophical commitment is our model for a healthy classroom and a healthy graduate level course of study.
Programs in the department are carefully structured to accommodate the needs of the adult learner, understanding that many graduate students try to balance their studies with family responsibilities and part-time or full-time work.