Constructivist Philosophy

Our graduate programs are designed to Remind our students of their professional strengths, assist them in Refining their classroom practices, and support them to Renew their perspective on their work within the field of education.

Education in our minds leads to empowerment, perhaps first suggested by Paulo Freire (1970) as he shared his conviction that, "every human being, no matter how [confused] or submerged in the “culture of silence” is capable of looking critically at his world in a dialogical encounter with others, and that when provided with the proper tools for such encounter he can gradually perceive his personal and social reality and deal critically with it. This sort of educational experience [brings him] to a new awareness of self, a new sense of dignity; he is stirred by new hope." As educators, the opportunity to work in concert with our peers empowers us to look within to strengthen our classrooms rather than to simply bow to the pressures that come from the outside.

Freire's comments taken today suggests that our best work as professional educators happens when we are building off of our own prior knowledge and experience as well as the knowledge and experience of our colleagues. The learning theory that represents this type of learning best is a constructivist learning theory. Constructivism is a theory about learning and knowledge or the "construction of learner generated solutions" (Catherine Fosnot, 1993). Even more simply put, it is about student directed learning.

It is our responsibility as a program to provide our students with learning opportunities that focus on "big ideas" or primary concepts; in our case, within the areas of leadership, curriculum, assessment and evaluation, learning, and instruction and technology. We take this responsibility very seriously. Another essential element of a constructivist classroom is to insure relevance to the learner, modifying and adapting that content to meet what our students need and/or want to improve within their own individual circumstance. That's where "student direction" applies. We take this responsibility even more seriously. The learner is different, therefore the application of content varies. Hopefully, this translates to important transformations in classroom practice, whether the learner is in Cabot, VT or Monterrey, Mexico.