Community Education Concentration
The Community Education concentration is open to students pursuing the BA and the MA with Individualized Focus in Education (non-licensure option) at the Plainfield, VT, or Seattle, WA, campuses. This concentration is for both skilled practitioners and those interested in pursuing the field of community education.
Goddard recognizes each student’s community as a learning laboratory. The Community Education concentration seeks to legitimize the skills and knowledge students acquired through working in the field. Students pursuing this concentration use their worksite experience to produce a relevant and meaningful program of study rooted in theory, expanded through practice, and focused on personal and professional educational goals.
During their final term of study, graduate students are required to complete a culminating project in the form of a master's thesis in an area of interest in community education that reflects the integration of theory and practice.
What is Community Education?
Community Education takes place in the intersection of education and community. These areas may include but are not limited to, family outreach, youth empowerment, environmental activism, community mental health, out-of-school time programs, place-based education, and service learning.
These educators build individual and collective capacity to deal with complex social issues of justice and equality, and they employ critical practices of participatory process and democratic change. As collaborators, community educators understand the power of partnership in developing vibrant, thriving, sustainable communities. These practices are deeply rooted in community education process, theory, and philosophy. Within this process lies the potential for collective and individual reflection and articulation of what matters most, to individuals and to communities.
Through the Community Education concentration, students engage in a profound exploration of their professional relationships to community while unveiling the wise and powerful voice within each individual.
Community Education Field Study
All studies in Community Education are based on study in the field. At the undergraduate level the Field Study may be seen through the lens of the specific areas of programs and practices. At the graduate level, it may involve the student’s professional development and leadership.
The Field Study is integrated into the study plan as a whole. By using the community as a learning laboratory, the student will gain skills, knowledge and understanding, and will reflect on them in the Field Study journal. Five credits per semester will be awarded for the undergraduate Field Study, and four credits per semester will be awarded for the graduate Field Study.
Students are responsible for finding their own field study placements. Most students in Community Education are already working or volunteering in the field. Faculty advisors may help the student design the field study, if the student needs assistance.
Some examples of field studies include community arts projects, community mental health groups, environmental activism projects, family involvement projects, afterschool or summer school enrichment projects.
Areas of Study
Each term, students develop an individualized study plan with a faculty advisor. The study plan may include the following content areas:
- Family Involvement and Engagement: Explore policies and practices supporting effective ways to support family involvement in children’s learning and development.
- Out-of-the-School Day Learning: Students re-search trends, opportunities and challenges in out-of-school day out-of-the-school building learning, and apply and re-flect on their learning in field work experiences.
- Community-based Learning: Powerful learning can happen in community-based environments. Research best practices and applied learning in service learning, place-based learning and other community-based strategies.
- Partnership and Collaboration: Partnerships are critical for sustainability and development of programs that are authentically rooted in community. Collaborating with partners and stakeholders from across sectors presents its own set of rewards and challenges. Areas of research and practice may include developing advisory boards, working with school/community partnerships, engaging youth in youth/adult led initiatives, and more.
- Community Education Process and Philosophy: Community Education has historical underpinnings rooted in a philosophy of community empowerment and equitable access to education. From the Danish folk school movement to the Highlander Research Center to the Occupy movement, community education has been an essential strategy for moving forward critical social change.
- Leadership for Social Justice: Students explore how individuals and groups connect, organize, think systemically, bridge and learn as part of a dynamic leadership process that mobilizes action on the scale needed to address social justice.
- Creating Space for Social Change: Students learn about leadership strategies for holding community conversations around difficult issues.
- Restorative Justice: Restorative justice is an approach in which both the offender’s and victim’s needs and looks at the responsibility and involvement of the whole community in supporting restoration. Students research current trends and best practices in restorative justice.
- Power of Youth Voice: Critical social movements and initiatives around the world are being launched by youth empowered voices.