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Program in Teaching

Program

Philosophy

In order to become great teachers, students must experience what it is to be engaged, disciplined, and inspired students. They must know first hand what it feels like to move from novice to expert in some domain and connect ideas and practices across disciplines. Students must learn what it is to participate in the exchange of ideas and informed, open-minded dialogue.

To this end the main emphasis of the Program in Teaching is placed squarely on the students’ liberal arts studies. Not only will students thus acquire the specific knowledge necessary to teach a particular subject (Literature, History, or Biology, for example) but equally vital, they will have first hand encounters with the kinds of experiences they must engender in their future students.

Coupled with the liberal arts emphasis is our belief that students who want to become teachers need to cultivate the habit of reflective practice. In order to help students with this, we offer a wide variety of group and individual forums in which students can think about their experiences as learners and teachers and begin to develop strategies for reflecting on their teaching and using their insights as a basis for change and improvement.

More simply put, we want students to be deeply immersed in their course of studies so they will have something to teach, as well as an intrinsic motivation to teach it. We also want students to develop simultaneously an interest and attention to the ideas and problems of teaching. Both formal and informal opportunities for this to emerge exist.

Williams is also committed to the idea that many of our students will choose careers for which a deep and textured understanding of educational issues is essential. Public policy, academia, government, and arts administration are a few examples. In other words, we offer opportunities for Williams students to focus on education as a major component of their studies or alternately as a small part of it. The Program in Teaching offers a rich, provocative and wide-ranging array of speakers, workshops, fieldwork opportunities and seminars in order to help students fulfill their individual goals.

Learn more about how the Program works.