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 a particular domain and connect ideas and practices across disciplines. 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. The Program in Teaching offers a coordinated cluster of courses, advising, and field work, that give students the opportunity to study the ideas, questions, and practices involved in good teaching at all levels.

To this end the main emphasis of the Program in Teaching is placed squarely on the students’ liberal arts studies. The Program in Teaching does not offer a major or concentration. Instead, educational guidance is offered to students seeking to explore the field of education. Not only will students thus acquire the specific knowledge necessary to teach a particular subject 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. 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.

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. Students may participate in a variety of ways, ranging from taking one course to a sustained in-depth study of teaching and learning geared to those who want to become teachers or educational psychologists.

The Program offers a range of opportunities including courses on education, intensive supervised student teaching, workshops, advising, lecture series, and seminars to help students fulfill their individual goals. We seek to connect students with one another, to bring in expert teachers to provide mentoring, and to create links across the curriculum so that students can see the vital connections between what they study (French, Algebra or Biology, for example) and the process of teaching those topics to elementary and high school students.

The Program is open to any student interested in education and offers opportunities for all levels of interest, including those who want to find out about certification and graduate study. The Program facilitates an exchange of ideas about teachers, learners, and schools, within and beyond the Williams campus.