The Department of Education, a scholarly community of faculty and students, shares in the Catholic and academic mission of The Catholic University of America. The Department recognizes the important role of education in shaping humanity, the world and the future. The teacher education program functions within this community to prepare teachers for Catholic, private and public schools to educate students for a changing world.
The overall purpose of teacher education at CUA is to help candidates acquire the skills and reflective qualities essential for the professional practice of teaching. By developing a reflective, problem-solving orientation toward teaching, graduates of this program should be empowered to critically examine their own actions and the context of these actions for the purpose of a more deliberative mode of professional activity (Berlak and Berlak, 1981). The outcome should be self-directed teachers who use professional knowledge to actively, persistently and carefully improve their practice.
One assumption that guides this program is that pre-service teachers can be taught to reflect on their experiences. This can only be accomplished when students are given many opportunities to practice reflection in different contexts and situations. For this reason, all coursework and related field experiences are infused with content and assignments that promote the central goal of increasing reflective thought.
A second assumption is that systematic observation and analysis during a variety of field experiences will promote reflectivity. Candidates are encouraged to use a problem-solving approach to reflect on situations encountered in their own teaching experiences or observations, draw on relevant research and theory for solutions, and integrate knowledge across coursework and field experiences.