Teacher Education at Seattle University prepares social justice educators who actively strive for educational equity in partnership with students, families, and communities furthest from justice, through a lifelong process of critical reflection and action rooted in anti-racist and humanizing pedagogies.
Strand 1 - Social Justice Identity Development: The social justice identity of teacher candidates will be further developed throughout their time in the MIT program. This identity development is foundational. The teacher’s identity influences their pedagogy and their work with students. Engaging with a teacher's personal history and ethical stances can foster deeper dialogues about social justice (Boylan and Woolsey, 2015). An essential role of a social justice educator is digging deep and actively working on their identity development to deepen their ongoing commitment to developing their knowledge, skills and dispositions for enacting anti-racist and humanizing pedagogies (Sealey-Ruiz, 2020).
Strand 2 - Authentic Partnership: Equitable education is not achieved in isolation; it requires authentic partnerships within schools and the local community, including indigenous communities. Interactions with families, communities and school personnel are approached in an asset-based way and intentionally positions families and community members as experts.
Strand 3 - Learning Environment: Developing a healthy and healing learning environment is a skill to be developed and is essential in enacting anti-racist and humanizing pedagogy. The learning environment developed by the teacher candidate will be a result of sincere, humanizing relationships with students. Creating a learning environment that prioritizes relationship development, maintenance and restoration shifts the focus away from “classroom management,” which can dehumanize students and perpetuate injustices.
Strand 4 - Planning, Teaching and Assessment: Planning, instruction and assessment of skills must be done within the context of further developing students’ identities, intellect and criticality (Muhammad, 2019). In order for teacher candidates to build their capacity to enact equitable teaching practices they must first develop their own social justice identity, authentic partnerships with families, communities and school personnel, and be able to develop a learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging and advocacy.
Essential Question: How will you develop your identity as an anti-racist, humanizing teacher working for social justice?
Essential Question: How will you partner with families, communities, and school personnel to cultivate learning opportunities in pursuit of educating the whole person?
Essential Question: How will you facilitate an inclusive and culturally sustaining learning community in your classroom that fosters a sense of belonging and agency for each student?
Essential Question: How will you design and enact relevant and meaningful instruction and assessment to develop students' identities, knowledge, understandings, skills, and dispositions to bring creativity and innovation to the world's most pressing issues?
Approximately 50% of the MIT program is field-based learning. Field experiences in the program are designed to mirror the K-12 teaching experience. As students progress through the program their field weeks will provide opportunities to become oriented to the current context of schools, make connections between theory and practice, develop relationships with students and school community members, and practice planning and facilitating student-centered instruction. Students begin and complete the program with a single internship placement where they will work closely with a strong mentor teacher to provide ongoing support and guidance, allowing for a rich and cohesive field-based learning experience.
Upon accepting the offer of admission to the MIT program, students will share their internship preferences with the program and the Field-based Education Team will work closely with our K-12 school partners in the Seattle region to identify an internship mentor teacher. While internship preferences are considered during the placement process, internship placements are ultimately determined based on the needs and availability of the schools and mentor teachers in our partners districts. Students can expect their internship placement to be in a district within a 30-mile radius of Seattle and commute anywhere between 30-60 minutes, regardless of their transportation mode.