INSTITUTIONAL REPORT – CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
A conceptual framework establishes the shared vision for a professional education unit’s efforts in preparing educators to work in P-12 schools. It provides direction for preparation programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service, and professional education unit accountability. The conceptual framework is knowledge-based, articulate, shared, coherent, consistent with the professional education unit and/or institutional mission, and is continuously evaluated. The conceptual framework provides the basis that describes the professional unit’s intellectual philosophy, which distinguishes graduates/completers from one institution to those of another.
Shared Vision and Mission
The mission of Gainesville State College (GSC) is to provide broad access to a liberal arts education primarily to foster and enhance the quality of life for the population of Northeast Georgia. The institution, which emphasizes diversity and international issues, prepares students to function in a global and technological society. Consequently, the vision of GSC is to be recognized as the region’s premier teaching institution by building on its tradition of teaching excellence and the strength of its student-focused and learning-centered environment. As a dynamic institution, the College continues to address the region’s call for accessible, high-quality academic programs in an atmosphere that fosters student success.
The vision and mission of the GSC Teacher Education Preparation Unit (TEPU) is to provide baccalaureate programs in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) with the preschool special needs endorsement, Early Childhood Education (ECE) with the reading and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsements, and, beginning in fall 2012, Secondary Education in Biology with ESOL endorsement to increase the number of “highly qualified” birth through grade twelve teachers in Northeast Georgia. GSC is also unique in regards to our teacher certification degrees because a unit existed prior to the development of the programs which have been added based on regional needs and demands. To accomplish its mission, the TEPU parallels the College’s strategic goals as follows:
- Just as the College fosters a welcoming environment that values and reflects diversity and inclusion, the TEPU recognizes the diversity of the student population. Therefore, it has embedded the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) ESOL and Reading Endorsement standards into the ECE preparation program and the Pre-school Special Education Endorsement standards into the ECCE preparation program. These are relevant to regional employment needs. Furthermore, the TEPU plans to infuse ESOL standards into the Secondary Education in Biology program beginning in fall 2012.
- Just as the College ensures academic standards of excellence and accountability, the TEPU is committed to candidates’ success by offering Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) workshops. It also integrates the GACE standards throughout all courses and field/clinical experiences. The TEPU has also infused the International Standards of Technology in Education (ISTE) throughout all courses and field/clinical experiences. Candidates integrate technology in their teaching and they demonstrate their knowledge and skills through key assessments in all the 3000 and 4000-level education courses.
- Just as the College promotes the growth and well-being of faculty and staff, the TEPU established cohort programs that support teacher candidates academically, socially, and emotionally. The importance of advisor/advisee rapport cannot be understated; thus, the TEPU also assigns one advisor to each cohort to mentor teacher candidates as they matriculate through their programs.
- Just as the College continues to maintain sound operational standards and practices, the education faculty will move from three separate buildings into one state-of-the-art 133,000 square foot building in July 2011. This building will include classrooms with advanced technologies, computer labs, and office/conference suites to promote collaboration and interaction between all faculty and teacher candidates.
- Just as the College enhances and supports services and opportunities to the community, the TEPU is committed to continuing to offer quality Area F education courses to provide a solid foundation for all teacher candidates. This includes those who may transfer to other colleges or universities. The TEPU also established a Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC) to ascertain the birth to grade 12 educational needs in an effort to create relevant courses and field/ clinical experiences for GSC TEPU teacher candidates.
The GSC TEPU established the TEAC on September 14, 2006. The 30 member council is evenly divided between representatives including P-12 teachers and administrators, community leaders, and GSC faculty and support staff. At the first meeting, TEAC members were charged with developing, implementing, and assessing the GSC TEPU that would distinguish the Unit’s graduates from those completing programs at other colleges and universities. Ultimately this charge provided the basis for the Unit’s conceptual framework and standards which TEAC continuously evaluates at each meeting. During the first year, the TEAC also adopted by-laws and created five sub-committees to parallel the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) standards: (a) Admission - Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions; (b) Assessment; (c) Field/Clinical Experience; (d) Diversity; and (e) Faculty. The Governance Sub-Committee is housed in the office of the VPAA.
Besides reviewing the GSC vision and strategic goals, the Council also critiqued the College’s core values to create a Conceptual Framework (CF) (refer to the bold print) that is tightly aligned to the College’s goals. The GSC core values include (A) focusing on student learning and growth (CF - maximizing all students’ development), (B) believing that all humans have potential and equal worth (CF - contributing citizens), (C) meeting the needs of a diverse community (CF - diverse and democratic society), (D) creating a caring and collegial environment (CF - caring), (E) integrating a relationship among academic disciplines (CF - balance professional dispositions and content knowledge with pedagogical skills), (F) hiring and mentoring qualified and dedicated faculty (CF - reflective decision makers), and (G) enhancing cooperative processes (CF - collaboratively interact with students, families, educators, and the community). Consequently, the Council approved the following CF that reflects the College’s goals, vision, and values to support the TEPU and its programs:
Gainesville State College Teacher Education Preparation Unit’s candidates are caring and reflective decision makers who are committed to maximizing all students’ development as contributing citizens in a diverse and democratic society. They balance professional dispositions and content knowledge with pedagogical skills as they collaboratively interact with students, families, educators, and the community.
In order to consistently implement and assess the CF, the TEAC adapted and adopted standards and indicators based on the six domains of the Georgia Framework for Teaching (GFT) that defines “quality teaching” for the Georgia Department of Education (DOE), the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC), and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents (BOR). Developed by the partners of the Georgia Systemic Teacher Education Program (GSTEP), in collaboration with extensive state-wide focus groups, the Framework identifies the knowledge, skills, dispositions, understandings, and other attributes of “accomplished” teaching that are aligned to Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) principles, Danielson indicators, and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPST) propositions. The six domains and associated indicators provide a common language and definitions for all stakeholders who are dedicated to quality teaching. The GFT domains are:
1. Content and Curriculum – “Accomplished” teachers demonstrate strong knowledge of content area(s) appropriate for their certification levels;
2. Knowledge of Students and Their Learning – “Accomplished” teachers support the intellectual, social, physical, and personal development of all students;
3. Learning Environments – “Accomplished” teachers create learning environments that encourage positive social interactions, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation;
4. Assessment – “Accomplished” teachers understand and use a range of formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous development of all learners;
5. Planning and Instruction – “Accomplished” teachers design and create instructional experiences based on their knowledge of content and curriculum, students, learning environments, and assessment; and
6. Professionalism – “Accomplished” teachers recognize, participate in, and contribute to teaching as a profession. (www.teachersbridge.org)
As noted above, the GSC TEAC reviewed, examined, and ultimately adapted and adopted the GFT to align to the TEPU’s CF (refer to the bold print in the standards). The TEAC created specific indicators that describe the GSC TEPU’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions of “teacher candidates” as opposed to “accomplished teachers”.
- Content and Curriculum
GSC “teacher candidates” balance professional disposition and content knowledge with pedagogical skills that are consistent with certification levels:
1A. use knowledge of major concepts and processes of inquiry that are central to the content areas they teach or developmentally appropriate learning environments they create;
1B. use subject-specific content with pedagogical skills that are applicable for diverse and/or English language learners (ELL);
1C. use current content knowledge and pedagogical skills;
1D. integrate content areas or developmentally appropriate practices to other subject areas;
1E. select and use a wide variety of resources, including technology, to deepen knowledge in the content areas and/or developmentally appropriate practices; and
1F. interpret and apply the curriculum to reflect Georgia and/or national standards.
- Knowledge of Students and Their Learning
GSC “teacher candidates” support the intellectual, social, physical, and personal development of all students, including ELL students, to become contributing citizens in a diverse and democratic society:
2A. relate the lessons and school experiences to students’ lives;
2B. believe that all students can learn at high levels and hold high expectations for all students;
2C. know how learning occurs in general and, when applicable, in the content areas;
2D. respond to all students’ well-being including their cultures and languages;
2E. know how factors in environments inside and outside of school may influence students’ lives and learning;
2F. adapt pedagogical strategies based on students’ stages of development; multiple intelligences, learning styles, language usage, and areas of exceptionality; and
2G. establish respectful and productive communications with students’ families in order to expand the outcomes of the lessons.
- Learning Environments
GSC “teacher candidates” create caring learning environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation:
3A. provide opportunities for students to interact in whole and small group learning communities as well as work independently:
3B. organize, allocate, and manage time, space, activities, technology, and other resources to provide equitable engagement of diverse students in productive tasks;
3C. collaborate with the clinical teacher and supervisor to implement effective classroom management that enhances appropriate and safe student behaviors;
3D. supervise students at all times, including during transitions;
3E. use knowledge of human motivation and behavior to develop strategies for organizing and supporting all students’ learning;
3F. use knowledge of students’ unique cultures, languages, experiences, and communities to sustain a culturally responsive classroom;
3G. access school, district, and/or community resources in order to foster students’ learning and well-being; and
3H. use effective verbal, nonverbal, and electronic communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
GSC “teacher candidates” use a range of formal and informal assessment techniques to evaluate and maximize all students’ development:
4A. analyze formal and informal assessment data accurately;
4B. use pre-assessment data to select or design clear, significant, varied, and appropriate student learning goals;
4C. choose, develop, and use classroom-based assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions;
4D. use assessment data to identify students’ strengths and needs;
4E. involve students in self-assessment, helping them to become aware of their strengths and needs, and encourage them to set personal goals for learning;
4F. develop and use valid and equitable grading procedures based on students’ learning;
4G. collaborate with the clinical teacher and supervisor to use assessment data to communicate student progress to the students, families, and school personnel or program administrators; and
4H. use resources, including technology, to keep accurate and up-to-date records of students’ work, behavior, and accomplishments.
- Planning and Instruction
GSC “teacher candidates” make decisions based on reflection and knowledge of content and curriculum, students, learning environments, and assessments to design and create age-appropriate instructional experiences:
5A. articulate clear and defensible rationales for instructional choices;
5B. plan and carry out instruction based on deliberate reflection of students’ needs;
5C. understand and use a variety of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies that support learning in order to maintain students’ engagement;
5D. monitor and adjust strategies in response to students’ feedback;
5E. vary roles in the instructional process (e.g.: instructor, facilitator, coach) in relation to content and purpose of instruction and the needs of students;
5F. use appropriate resources, materials, and technology to manage and enhance instruction for diverse and/or ELL students; and
5G. value and engage in planning with the special education, ESOL, and other teachers.
GSC “teacher candidates” recognize, participate, and contribute to teaching as a profession as they collaboratively interact with students, families, educators, and the community:
6A. follow established codes of professional conduct including the Georgia PSC Code of Ethics and school or district policies;
6B. abide by laws related to the rights and responsibilities of students, educators, and families;
6C. reflect on teaching and student learning for continuous improvement;
6D. seek opportunities to learn based on reflection and input from others;
6E. collaborate with educators, families, and the community;
6F. interact with all students in a fair and caring manner; and
6G. consistently demonstrate the following dispositions:
6G1. conscientious, committed, and motivated,
6G2. punctual and dependable,
6G3. professional in dress and manner,
6G4. organized yet flexible,
6G5. use appropriate oral and written communication,
6G6. maintain confidentiality,
6G7. respectful to all students, families, colleagues, administrators, and supervisors,
6G8. solve problems appropriately,
6G9. display high integrity and sound judgment, and
6G10. use technology in an ethical manner.
In summary, this CF with standards/indicators provides the basis that describes the GSC TEPU intellectual philosophy which distinguishes the GSC graduates from those of other colleges and universities.
Articulated and Coherent
The GSC TEPU CF is ubiquitous because it is printed on all the documents, handbooks, syllabi, and assessments; thus, ensuring that it is articulated, understood, and coherent throughout the TEPU and programs. The CF is also included in all TEAC and department meeting agendas and minutes.
Professional Commitments and Dispositions
Professional commitments and dispositions are clearly expected of all teacher candidates as noted in the CF and in standards/indicators 1A, 1C, 1D, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3C, 3D, 3E, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5C, 5D, 5E, 6A, 6B, 6C, and 6D.
Commitment to Diversity
The GSC TEPU CF clearly reflects a commitment to prepare candidates who support learning for all students and provides a conceptual understanding of how knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions are related to diversity and integrated across the unit and programs. Refer to the following standards/indicators: 1B, 2A, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3F, 5B, 5F, 5G, 6E, 6F, 6G1-5, and 6G 7-8.
Commitment to Technology
In order to meet all students’ needs, it is expected that the GSC teacher candidates effectively and reflectively integrate a variety of technologies into their teaching, planning, and assessing processes as articulated in standards/ indicators IE, 3B, 3H,
4H, 5F, and 6G10. Furthermore GSC recognizes as a core value the importance of integrating technology into the fabric of the institution to enhance student success and communication. All GSC classrooms are “Smart Classrooms” with Symposium and White Boards technologies, thus, creating opportunities for interaction and learning by integrating computer, multimedia, and network technologies in all experiences. The TEPU has also designed two demonstration classrooms with Promethean Boards in the new classroom building in which the candidates will have hands-on experiences using the same technologies used in local P-12 schools.
Candidate Proficiencies Aligned with Professional and State Standards
All candidates align their lessons and teacher work sample units and assessments with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). They are also assessed using a four-point rubric on their abilities to understand and use professional, state, and GSC standards/indicators 1F, 4G, 6A, 6B, and 6G6.
Unit Assessment and Accountability
The GSC TEPU assessment system is tightly aligned to the CF and the standards/indicators which provide the basis for course and field/clinical experiences as well as in the formative course key assessments, pre-clinical portfolio, and field performance observations, and the summative clinical performance observation, clinical professional portfolio, and teacher work sample. After the PSC developmental review in April 2008, Live Text was adopted as the online system to collect and analyze data beginning with the summer 2008 cohort applicants to improve unit operations.
Extant knowledge bases, including theories, research, the wisdom of practice, and education policies support the GSC TEPU CF. Furthermore, these knowledge bases are updated continuously based on current research studies. The GSC TEPU conceptually actualized its vision through a framework that is supported by the Unit’s philosophy, purposes, commitments, and dispositions. The TEPU also explicitly believes that the purposes and commitments are of equal value; thus, the gestalt is greater than the parts as indicated in the visual model. The CF is depicted by three intertwining circles representing professional dispositions, content knowledge, and pedagogical skills. These elements synergistically interact to depict the TEPU’s philosophy that all teachers influence their students’ development as contributing citizens in our diverse and democratic society. A triangle frames the circles which illustrate the TEPU’s emphasis on the dispositions of caring, collaborating, and reflective decision making that also impact students’ development. Furthermore, the TEPU believes that each of the ten conceptual framework outcomes is of equal value, and, when combined are critical in the preparation of teachers who will maximize the learning of all of their students. Even though the outcomes are presented in a sequential manner as they are noted in the CF, they are dynamic, overlapping, and integrated throughout all course and field/clinical experiences and assessments. The knowledge bases for each of the ten outcomes are described separately.
Gainesville State College Teacher Education Preparation Unit’s candidates
are caring and reflective decision makers who are committed to maximizing
all students’ development as contributing citizens in a diverse and democratic
society. They balance professional dispositions and content knowledge with
pedagogical skills as they collaboratively interact with students, families,
educators, and the community.
Outcome 1: Caring -
In 1996, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) challenged the United States to ensure that every child has competent, caring, and qualified teachers (Darling-Hammond, 1996). Palmer (1998, 1999) wrote that effective teaching is more than using techniques but rather connecting to students in a caring manner. Lalas (2007), McBee (2008) and Rowe (2009) implored educators to intentionally model “caring” in their own teaching so that their students will learn compassion and a commitment to social justice. “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin” (Hooks, 1994, p. 519). Noddings (2003) summarized this outcome as being conveyed in multiple ways from support, trust, and connections to educators who continuously search for competence. Wolk (2008) continued to note that educators must also want their students to care about learning and the world. Indeed, the “single biggest factor in whether students try or give up, leave or stay, is their sense that somebody in the school knows who they are and cares about what happens to them” (Levin, 2009, p. 384).
Outcome 2: Reflecting –
As educators, we must intentionally select strategies and materials and, consequently, reflect on these decisions to ultimately enhance P-12 students’ development. Pedro (2006) noted that, “research over the past two decades has suggested that reflection is at the heart of effective educational practices in that it considers the cognitive, social, and moral implications of teaching” (p. 130). White (2009) concurred by writing “reflective practice emerges from educational and sociological research that emphasizes the need to observe, listen, and act in ways that are appropriate for the good of the larger community and for continued self growth” (p. 11). Expanding on Dewey’s (1933) premises, Zeichner and Liston (1996) wrote, “reflective teaching entails a recognition, examination, and rumination over the implications of one’s beliefs, experiences, attitudes, knowledge, and values as well as the opportunities and constraints provided by the social conditions in which the teacher works” (p. 33). In the process of reflecting, educators not only determine which techniques are most effective to maximize their students’ development, but also which practices are aligned with the democratic ideals of enhancing lives, supporting growth, and respecting individual differences (Huber & Warring, 2006; McIntrye, & Dangel, 2009; Meadows, 2006; Risko, Vukelich, Roskos, 2009). Regarding education in a more generic sense, Pausch (2008) wrote in his book “The Last Lecture”, “in the end educators best serve students by helping them to
be more self-reflective. The only way any of us can improve is if we develop a real ability to assess ourselves. If we can’t accurately do that, how can we tell if we’re better or worse?” (p. 112).
Outcome 3: Decision Making –
It is not enough to merely reflect upon one’s own practices. “Decision making may be the single most important function of teachers” (Morrison, 2009, p. 17). Purposeful decisions must be made to implement the results of reflective considerations (Click, & Parker, 2006; Danielson, 2008; Friedman, & Schoen, 2009; Whittaker, & vanGarderen, 2009). Dewey (1938) theorized that educators not only critically examine and question their own assumptions and principles but they must thoughtfully and deliberately make changes in their practices to enhance students’ learning. “When teachers consider the moral and ethical implications of their beliefs and practices related to equity and social justice because they value and care about their students, they are working to teach for democracy” (LaBoskey, 2006, p. 1). The NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel implored that teacher preparation programs become more clinically based so that teacher candidates can “hone their use of evidence in making professional decisions about practice” (Levine, & Leibbrand, 2010, p. 2). Consequently, active reflection translates into thoughtful decision making that impacts both planning and teaching (Schon, 1983).
Outcome 4: Maximizing Student Development –
“The conclusion that individual teachers can have a profound impact on student learning was first noticed in the 1970s when we began to examine effective teaching practices” (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollack, 2001, p. 3). Indeed, Sander’s research determined that effective teachers maximize all students’ learning “regardless of the heterogeneity in their classrooms” (Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997, p. 63). And this impacts student’s success outside the classroom as well. In Other People’s Children, Delpit (1996) passionately argued that educators need to assure parents that their children are taught the skills and attitudes that will enable them to become successful in the larger society. As the population in the United States continues to become more linguistically diverse, all teachers must intentionally and strategically meet the needs of ELL students. (Lundquist, & Hill, 2009). Furthermore, it is imperative that all teachers explore “both the academic and psychosocial abilities of their students” (Edwards, & Kuhlman, 2007, p. 45) to help students and teachers become more sensitive to culturally responsive teaching. The adoption of the Teacher Work Sample (TWS) process enables GSC teacher candidates to “conduct classroom inquiry focused on student learning outcomes” (Cochran-Smith, Barnatt, Friedman, & Pine, 2009, p.17). The TEPU agrees with NCTAF’s (1996) assertion that what teachers know and do truly affects students’ learning and development.
Outcome 5: Contributing Citizens –
Besides achieving personal success, students need preparation to become productive contributing citizens in our democracy (Dewey, 1916; Glickman,
1993; Goodlad, 1994). “Public education is the only institution designated and funded as the agent of the larger society in protecting the core value of its citizens: democracy” (Glickman, 1993, p. 8). Larrivee (2002, p. 77) expanded,
As a microcosm of society, the classroom should instill a set of democratic values founded on the principles of tolerance, acceptance, respect and compassion. In the democratic learning community, the teacher’s role is to help students internalize these values and learn that freedom is tied to responsibility.
However, “the learning outcomes associated with diversity education and with liberal education more generally – civic knowledge and engagement, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning and action – are not the exclusive domain of any single discipline” (Meacham, 2009, p.1). Since all teachers have a formative role in establishing democratic ideals in their students, they must explicitly model acceptance of all viewpoints and perspectives as well as value diverse opinions. Consequently, their students will be better prepared to contribute to the social well being of all democratic citizens (Martin, 2010).
Outcome 6: Preparing for a Diverse and Democratic Society –
In terms of diversity in the United States, Darling-Hammond (2010, p. 8) argued “given the critical importance of education for individual and societal success in the flat world we now inhabit, inequality in the provision of education is an antiquated tradition that the United States can no longer afford”. Pritchey-Smith (1998) and Martin (2008) wrote that teaching for a democratic citizenship is aligned with culturally responsive pedagogy when teachers are sensitive to other cultures, seeks out knowledge about other cultures, and combines this knowledge with the content they teach. Haberman (1996, p. 127) expanded, “At the heart of multicultural education is the teacher’s recognition that children and youth can and should be taught to function on three levels: as individuals, as members of one or more cultural groups, and as members of the general society”. Ladson-Billings (2001, p. 98) concurred by writing “culturally competent teachers understand culture and its role in education, take responsibility for learning about students’ cultures and communities, and use student culture as a basis for learning.” All decisions that relate to the classroom environment and selection of strategies encompass the development of democratic communities which translates into an active respect for diversity and social justice (Castro, 2010; Draper, Hall, & Smith, 2006; Morrier, Irving, Dandy, Dmitriyev, & Ukeje, 2007; Morrison, 2009; Pultorak, & Barnes, 2009). After all, “a democracy is based on a shared social spirit of mutual interests” and requires a “participatory interaction between all groups of people” (Finnell-Gudwien, 2007, p. 170).
Outcome 7: Balancing Professional and Content Knowledge -
Professional dispositions and content knowledge need to be balanced for teachers to truly maximize their students’ development.
A more complex, knowledge-based, and multicultural society creates new expectations for teaching. To help diverse learners master more challenging content, teachers must go far beyond dispensing information, giving a test, and giving a grade. They must themselves know their subject matter deeply, and they must understand how students think, if they are to create experiences that actually work to produce learning. (Darling-Hammond, 1996, p. 319)
Marzano (2003) and Stevens and Mitchell (2006) concurred that effective teachers balance their professional dispositions with their content knowledge to create learning environments that are positive, encouraging, caring, and relevant for all learners. Field
and clinical experiences in P-12 schools are a vital component to teach and model the “balance between theory and practice for teacher candidates” (Parker, Facio, Volante, & Cherubini, 2008, p. 40).
Outcome 8: Using Pedagogical Skills –
The knowledge of teaching in itself is not adequate because it must skillfully be employed in the classroom to reach praxis. As Goodlad (2004) so eloquently wrote, “it is a setting that brings together and blends harmoniously and coherently the three essential ingredients of a teacher’s education: general, liberal education; the study of educational practices; and the guided exercise of the art, science, and skill of teaching” (p. 2). Thus, professional dispositions combined with content knowledge and executed through appropriate pedagogical skills supports, engages, and leads students to deeper levels of learning (Schlechty, 2002). Indeed, Wiggins and McTighe (1998) went so far as to refer to teachers as “designers”. “An essential act of our profession is the design of curriculum and learning experiences to meet specified purposes” (p. 7). As teachers design lessons and assessments, they must keep in mind a key tenet of education which is “there is no learning without a learner” (Postman & Weingartner, 1969, p. 309). Furthermore, as noted by the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel (2010), partnerships with P-12 schools are a vital component in the teacher education program to bridge the connections between pedagogical theory and skills in professional settings (Dangel, Dooley, Swars, Truscott, Smith, & Williams, 2009; Levine & Leibbrand, 2010).
Outcome 9: Collaborating with Students, Families, Educators, and the Community –
Educating all students does not occur in a vacuum within the bricks and mortar of school buildings but also within homes and communities. School stakeholders expect that teachers reach out to learn about all of their students’ environments and also make learning relevant and purposeful within those environments (Colombo, 2006; deOliveira & Athanases, 2007). Collaboration and interaction are circular rather than linear and reaches back into the school buildings, too (Melin & Walker, 2009). “Reflection needs to focus not only within the classroom but on the contexts in which teaching and schooling are embedded. Recognizing those contexts leads to an understanding that decisions and deliberation about purposes leads to the inclusion of other members of the school community” (Zeichner & Liston, 1996, p. 22). Collegial discourse about teachers’ professional dispositions, content knowledge, and pedagogical skills closes the loop on planning, teaching, and reflecting on best-practices that maximize all students’ learning (Palmer, 1998).
Outcome 10 – Using Technology
Although not explicitly noted in the CF but clearly delineated in the GSC TEPU standards, TEPU expects that both college-based and clinical faculty model the uses of technology. Candidates must also utilize a variety of technologies in both courses and field/clinical experiences that ultimately maximizes all students’ learning. They learn to integrate meaningful technologies as pedagogical tools in an ethical and appropriate manner, too. (AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology, 2009; Cohen, Schmidt, Pelligrino, & Schultz, 2008; Morrison, 2009; Recesso & Orrrill, 2008).
In summary, the members of the GSC TEAC discussed, reflected, and designed a CF to answer the essential question – what are the unique characteristics of GSC teacher education preparation unit’s candidates that meet the needs of local students, schools, and communities? Sub-committees, small groups, and eventually the entire TEAC reached a consensus that the GSC teacher candidates are
caring and reflective decision makers who are committed to maximizing all students’ development as contributing citizens in a diverse and democratic society. They balance professional and content knowledge with pedagogical skills as they collaboratively interact with students, families, and the community.
The TEAC recognized that the development of this CF was merely the first step because it was then embedded into the courses, field experiences, and assessments. Assessment data at four decision points (admissions, entry to clinical experience, program completion, and induction completion) have been analyzed for continuous improvement of the TEPU programs, courses, and individual teacher candidates. Furthermore, the CF was not created in a vacuum but is based on solid knowledge and research evidence as noted in the list of references. In conclusion, the GSC TEPU believes that the CF forms the foundation upon which the philosophy and vision are actualized and the purposes and commitments are measured. The CF provides the direction for all TEPU and program courses, field experiences, and assessments.
AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Ed.) (2009). Handbook of
technological pedagogical content knowledge. Boston: Routledge.
Castro, A. J. (2010). Challenges in teaching for critical multicultural citizenship:
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Click, P. M. & Parker, J. (2006). Caring for school age children. NY: Thomson.
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Delpit, L. (1996). Other peoples’ children. NY: New Press.
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educational research to nurture democratic educators. Action in Teacher Education, 28(2), 66-72.
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talk? Multicultural Education, 14(4), 45-49.
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