The Barnard Education Program envisions education as an emancipatory human right that develops people’s capacities to think critically and act creatively for peace, justice, and sustainability in local and global contexts. Education is a fundamental human activity that occurs in formal and informal settings as people interact within their social, historical, and physical environments. The program educates students to draw on interdisciplinary research and perspectives in order to critically analyze the role of education in society, and to create and sustain equitable educational practices and policies for all. The Barnard Education Program is committed to strengthening public education and addressing issues of equity and social justice, particularly in urban schools driven by 5 Guiding Principles:
Teaching is a moral and political act.
Teaching is grounded in an ethic of care.
Learning is an active process requiring engagement.
All students are capable of learning.
Literacy is a civil right.
We believe that a robust and equitable education system that values the identities, voices, perspectives, cultures, languages, and strengths of learners and their communities is key to developing loving, hopeful, and compassionate ways of being that serve as the foundation for family, civic, and political life.
Our Guiding Principles
Teaching is a moral and political act: Teachers have a moral responsibility to understand economic, social and political factors that affect their students and the schools they attend. Teacher curricular and pedagogical decisions have an impact on students' sense of efficacy and access to ideas, knowledge, cultural capital and material, intellectual and technological resources that support learning.
Teaching is grounded in an ethic of care: Learning is more likely to occur in a safe and supportive environment in which people from all racial, cultural, socio-economic, gender and ability groups are treated with dignity and respect.
Learning is an active process requiring engagement: Curriculum and pedagogical practices should involve students as active participants in the learning process, as constructors of knowledge and as agents of their own lives.
All students are capable of learning: Teachers should be responsive to their students' needs, interests, cultural meaning making systems, and aspirations. Teachers who demonstrate that they believe in their students' capacities as learners and hold them to meaningful, high standards make it possible for all to develop their intellectual, moral and social capacities.
Literacy is a civil right: All learners, especially those from marginalized communities, have a right to learn to read the word and the world; to master and use the tools of mathematics, science, social studies, literature and the arts to understand their lives and to act as citizens of their communities and the larger society. Without this basic right, students will be unable to fully utilize their other rights as democratic citizens.