Education Program Philosophy

The emphasis is on reflection - helping teachers think about what happened, why it happened, what else they could have done to teach their goals. Reflective teaching encourages teachers to be students of teaching (Cruickshark & Applegate, 1981).

The undergraduate teacher education program at Gallaudet University can be best described as one that models a reflective learning and teaching process. The program emphasizes the need for prospective teachers to engage in problem-solving and higher- level thinking skills. Reflective teachers are those who consciously review their teaching, materials, and planning, and who evaluate what works, and what does not work. They constantly engage in formative evaluation throughout the planning and teaching process and to problem-solve.

Students in our program are encouraged to question and to challenge what they read and observe. Reflective learning means that there may be more than one “right” answer to any given educational problem. This model of reflective teaching is evident throughout the developmental sequence of courses.

Beginning with their foundations courses, Introduction to Education and Teaching (EDU 250), we encourage students in the teacher education program to analyze their own thoughts and beliefs about education and to compare then with a number of different philosophies of education. Throughout the program, students develop a personal set of beliefs and to reflect on why they hold such beliefs.

The program provides students with numerous opportunities to engage in peer teaching during classes and to join their peers in reflecting upon these experiences, both cognitively and affectively. During their practicum experiences, students work with faculty members and teachers to engage in daily written reflection on what they have observed or done. Group reflection and problem-solving are facilitated during seminars in which students “debrief” their experiences each week as a group.