The conceptual framework that now guides the unit was developed through a series of faculty retreats, and later revised by the Conceptual Framework Committee. As the unit prepared for full implementation of the Ready to Teach Transformation Initiative, the Conceptual Framework was again formally revisited through a series of meetings that included community representation as well as the faculty in the college. Recommendations were made to clarify, redefine, and reframe the concepts to better reflect the needs and requirements for successful teachers and professionals in the 21st century. The Conceptual Framework specifically guides the Teacher Education programs within the College, and where appropriate, also applies to the various non-licensure programs housed within the College. The framework is comprised of nine dimensions that come together to inform the tenth: Leadership.
Teaching is Leading for the Future
Leadership (The Tenth Dimension)
Teacher education graduates possess the personal and professional qualities that enable them to take a leadership role and work constructively within schools and agencies to create learning communities that foster the growth and development of all learners.
Dimension 1: General Knowledge
Teacher education graduates have a strong liberal studies core that develops their understanding of the rich cultural heritage of students, provides an understanding of our global community and develops competence in critical thinking, writing, oral communication, and technology. Students demonstrate general knowledge and skills in professional practice by building subject matter connections across disciplines; adapting relevant subject matter for multiple levels of learners; and communicating orally and in writing using formal, standard English.
Dimension 2: Content Knowledge
Teacher education graduates understand and use the central concepts, tools of inquiry, technological resources, and structures of their discipline(s). Students demonstrate content knowledge by creating relevant and current learning experiences that are meaningful for all students.
Dimension 3: Pedagogical Knowledge
Teacher education graduates are able to plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, characteristics and needs of students, the community, and curriculum goals as expressed in state standards. They understand and use a variety of instructional strategies and tools to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills. They are able to document appropriate planning of classroom strategies through the use of high quality lesson plans. They use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a safe learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. Graduates are able to ethically use technology to enhance the learning of students. They understand and are able to use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of learners.
Dimension 4: Diversity
Teacher education graduates are committed to serving a rapidly changing, expanding, and increasingly diverse society. They respect and appreciate each person and the unique experiences that influence how an individual understands the world. They establish a welcoming classroom climate. They create instruction in which people honor one another as individuals, value differences and the special gifts each brings to the community, and respect the rights of others as human beings inclusive of race, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, language, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, disability, religion, and national origin. Teacher education graduates are capable of self-examination to overcome prejudice.
Dimension 5: Professional Collaboration
Teacher education graduates can practice shared responsibility and positive professional attitudes in collaborative practice with students, colleagues, families, learning organizations, and the community at large. They recognize value in interdisciplinary learning communities and other professional networking opportunities. They possess the knowledge and skills necessary to build community support and develop trusting and collaborative relationships with the students to enhance learning and well-being.
Dimension 6: Reflective Practice
Teacher education graduates are reflective practitioners who are committed to growth and professional improvement. Reflective practice begins with assessment of self: talent, attitudes, behaviors, patterns, professional practice and follows with peer review. Graduates develop a respect for feedback and continuously seek alternative perspectives for both self improvement, and the improvement of student learning. Reflective practice is also exercised when building the foundation of theories and philosophies that become the teaching framework of each practitioner. Reflection enables future teachers to raise questions, to critically analyze theory and current research and to evaluate the effects of their own practice on others (students, families and other professionals in the learning community), and to develop creative solutions to educational dilemmas and concerns.
Dimension 7: Self-directed, Lifelong Learning
Teacher education graduates take responsibility for their future and set goals for their personal and professional growth. Through participation in professional organizations, in-service activities, presentations at conferences, interactions with teachers mentors, reading professional literature, and accessing other learning resources, graduates demonstrate a commitment to their own continuing professional development and the development of the profession. As leaders and role models, graduates will communicate the importance of lifelong learning to students, families and colleagues.
Dimension 8: Caring
Teacher education graduates appreciate the talents of all learners, believe that all students can learn, and demonstrate flexibility by using individual strengths to guide student learning. They respond to both character and competence in building caring and trusting relationships. Teacher education graduates encourage such relationships and support the practice of mutual consideration and concern in classroom management strategies, and among all members of the school and community environment.
Dimension 9: Professional and Social Responsibility
Teacher education graduates demonstrate a commitment to active, ethical involvement in the school, community and profession. Graduates demonstrate their citizenship by serving their communities and profession. They are committed to developing opportunities for learners to engage in socially responsible behaviors demonstrated by sustainable classroom practices, a global perspective on history, culture and resources, and local action utilizing methods such as service-learning. Graduates make responsible choices regarding confidentiality of student records and personal use of social media.