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Five Principles of CARE

The Five Principles of CARE are:

In a democratic society, a primary role of the school is to develop in students the habits of the heart and mind that make active and full democratic citizenship possible. As teachers in democratic classrooms, your responsibilities go beyond preparing students with subject content or for future careers. Education is not a neutral endeavor. It is both a social activity and an institution that is embedded in an always changing socio-cultural context. Because we are not born knowing how to be democratic, schools become an important site for developing the traits and characteristics that are part of being a democratic citizen. The promises of democracy are extended to all citizens. How schools can foster democratic ideals such as equity, social justice, freedom, responsibility, community and tolerance will be examined.

Nature of the Learner
Students will explore the nature of the child as learner and how psychological, emotional, cognitive and physical development impact learning and teaching in the classroom. The child comes to school as a naturally curious learner and meaning-maker. CARE students will explore how to keep this natural wonder and curiosity alive through all grade levels by opening a window to the world. Students will explore an array of childhood and adolescent development theories, as well as learn about how social, cultural and economic factors impact the learner within the school experience. We will seriously consider how all children can be educated well, paying attention to issues of difference such as socio-economic class, race, gender and family configuration.

Curriculum may be defined as the sum of the experiences a child has in school. How teachers and others choose to structure the formal curriculum is often overlooked. Even less examined is the "hidden curriculum" and its impact on students. The choices that teachers make should be predicated upon enhancing the intellectual, moral and social development of each child within the context of a democratic society. Students will gain an understanding of how knowledge is organized and curriculum is created. Textbooks will be examined with a constructivist and critical eye as only one among many resources available for gathering information. Other resources, including the community, will be explored.

Democratic Pedagogy
The role of the teacher in the democratic classroom goes beyond providing students with information to enhance their social, emotional, and intellectual development through experience. Understanding that children have different learning styles, teachers will explore how to utilize creative and active strategies that allow children to experience various educative processes, as well as multiple ways to construct knowledge. In addition, we will explore various methods that promise to provide a more authentic and holistic assessment of children's learning. Also, students will explore various means of creating a sense of classroom community that don't revolve around punishment or marginalization. Rather, teachers will explore how their pedagogy can create an inclusive and meaningful environment for each and every child.

Praxis and Partnership
The Creating Active and Reflective Educators program adheres to three basic commitments in teacher education. These are: (1) praxis: that the best teacher preparation includes a blending of theory and practice, and that these two domains inform each other to create a stronger sense of teaching, (2) partnership: the preparation of teachers should involve practicing educators, students, and university researchers as an educational team, and (3) a commitment to explore the democratic notion of the "common good amidst diversity" as it applies to one's local, national and global citizenship. In addition, education should connect with the community in a variety of settings for learning and service. These approaches will prepare our teachers to be active and valuable educational leaders in the classroom, school and community.