Educators as Architects of Change
Graduates of the John H. Lounsbury College of Education, both graduate and undergraduate, take their places as Architects of Change in the public school systems of Georgia, working in the interest of all young people. While preserving the best of our liberal arts heritage, our graduates are equipped with the intellectual and social skills they need in order to serve as advocates for all PK-12 students.
The Educators as Architects of Change Model
In 1996, the faculty adopted the model, "Educators as Architects of Change" to guide our curricular and instructional decisions. Educators as Architects of Change is a model that exemplifies our dedication to careful, reflective and purposeful improvement of schools through the preparation of professional educators. The Architects of Change model demonstrates our belief that effective educators require a discrete set of skills, including the ability to advocate for students, to become mentors and leaders within schools, and to reflect on the meaning of the social practices they find in schools. Our faculty reaffirms its utility, distilling our commitment to the principles of reasoned, artful and purposeful improvement of schooling.
The faculty of the John H. Lounsbury College of Education believes that our schools must fulfill the educational needs of our populace while emphasizing fairness, democracy, and intellectual curiosity. Amid a climate of change and uncertainty, we inspire educators to create student-centered learning environments as the primary expression of strong pedagogy. We use the Educators as Architects of Change model to guide the development of an inclusive and diverse community of stakeholders, consisting of students, educators, educator candidates, and the public.
Since the inception of Educators as Architects of Change as our guiding principle, the faculty has continually reassessed our programs. Informed by research and reflective analysis, we have continued our intensive cohort model for our undergraduate programs as well as some of our graduate programs. We motivate professional educators to reach out to stakeholders to develop citizens who value formal education, literacy in its many forms, and individual differences.
This framework is designed to produce change agents, based on the following core principles:
the Liberal Arts and integrated learning
human relationships and diversity
leadership for learning and teaching communities.
In its programs of study, the Georgia College (GC) faculty affirms the importance of programs that situate educators as researchers, leaders, and Architects of Change in the schools and the larger community.
Liberal Arts and Integrated Learning
The Architects of Change model demands that our graduates understand themselves as both "doing" and "thinking" about their professional practice (Hutton, 2006). We seek to preserve the intellectual commitments of the liberal arts college: "to pose questions to the world, and to reflect on what is presented in experience" (Greene, 1998, p. 21). We see development as encompassing the cognitive, emotional, moral and civic dimensions found in the liberal arts.
Educator candidates in most of GC's professional educator programs join cohorts of peers, allowing them to learn from and interact with each other in intensive, field-based courses. Integral to the cohort is a mentor leader who acts as a role model, advisor, and facilitator of learning for each student. Consequently, faculty and students both live education grounded in action, community, and collaboration. Through participation in our programs, educator candidates not only acquire a strong foundation in major content and pedagogical areas, but also learn to connect theory to practice by applying and conducting classroom research.
We recognize that "skilled teachers are the most crucial of all schooling inputs" (Ferguson, 1991, p. 490).Our field-based cohort model serves as a powerful vehicle to integrate theory and practice by fostering close collaboration among faculty, educator candidates and professionals in the field. We understand teaching to be complex, requiring systematic reflection on practice. In order to become true Architects of Change, educators must go beyond simple bureaucratic solutions, learning to make instructional and curricular decisions based exigencies of real life in schools (Darling-Hammond, 1997).
Human Relationships and Diversity
Building upon strong liberal arts, professional and pedagogical bases, educator candidates in the GC professional education programs are encouraged to construct a well-grounded framework for appropriately addressing human relations and diversity issues in schools. As democratic educators, we understand schooling to be part of the real world and part of children's lives. "We share the knowledge gained in classrooms beyond those settings, thereby working to challenge the construction of knowledge as always and only available to the elite" (hooks, 2003, p. 41) Our educator candidates are exposed to theory and practice that foster the belief that all students can learn and should be treated as individuals with unique and various needs, skills, talents, interests, histories, and beliefs. As Architects of Change, educator candidates learn to design inclusive, culturally sensitive and relevant learning experiences in order to create learning communities in which all people are respected and appreciated, and in which academic achievement, positive intergroup relations, and critical consciousness are expected.
Leadership for Learning and Teaching Communities
By modeling successful teaching, questioning assumptions, and posing challenging problems, instructors in the GC professional education programs encourage educator candidates to construct their own understanding of education. In this way, candidates may feel empowered to continue learning throughout their lives, to be flexible in adapting to difficulties, to imagine creative solutions, to communicate effectively, and to take necessary risks in meeting future needs. The professional preparation programs seek to create empowered educational leaders who have the ability to cultivate partnerships within the schools and community, act as advocates for the students under their care, and collaborate with others to creatively solve problems and make decisions. Our programs foster commitment to equity and social justice, and provide students the opportunity to develop as leaders and Architects of Change.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Ferguson, R. (1991). Paying for public education: New evidence on how and why money matters. Harvard Journal on Legislation, 28(2), 465-498.
Greene, M. (1988). The dialectic of freedom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
hooks, b. (2003) Teaching community: A pedagogy of hope. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis, Inc.
Hutton, T. (2006). The conflation of liberal & professional education: Pipedream, aspiration, or nascent reality? Liberal Education, 92(4), 54-59.