Circle of Courage

Dr. Steve VanBockern, co-founder of the Circle of Courage educational philosophy

Our conceptual framework, the Circle of Courage, is based on a model of youth empowerment supported by contemporary research, the heritage of early youth work pioneers and Native American philosophies of child care. The model is encompassed in four core values:  belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The central theme of this model is that a set of shared values must exist in any community of learners, including public education and teacher training institutions, to create environments that ultimately benefit society. The term reclaiming is used in this model because reclaiming environments meet the needs of both the individual and society. The Education Department strives to create a reclaiming environment for its teacher candidates and dispose them to create classrooms and schools that exemplify all four values of the Circle of Courage.

Belonging— Students’ sense of belonging is fostered through small, interactive classes and numerous opportunities to participate in collaborative contexts.

Mastery—Students need to develop social, intellectual, and academic competence if they are to become capable and responsible citizens.

Independence—Our curriculum builds, and the faculty model, problem solving, leadership, respect for diversity, collaboration, assertiveness, and responsibility.

Generosity—A positive learning environment must be characterized by a climate of caring; we all support and cooperate to make our social and academic experiences meaningful.

Click HERE to read the Conceptual Framework Narrative