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Conceptual Framework

Philosophy, Purposes, Goals, and Knowledge Bases

INTRODUCTION

The unit's mission is to educate ethically and socially responsible teachers and school leaders for the community.  This mission is expressed through our unit's five domains of competence:

Learning and Teaching: Cycles
Diverse Learners: Individuals
Liberal Arts: Literacies
Family, School and Community: Partnerships
Professionalism: Commitments

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By means of the five domains of competence, we work toward our goal: to prepare teachers and leaders with the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to help all children learn in a caring and supportive community of learners.

Five Domains of Competence

1. Learning and Teaching: Cycles

Ethically and socially responsible teacher and leadership candidates will provide a positive learning environment that insures the academic achievement and social growth for all learners.  Their teaching and leadership is based on knowledge, learning theories, and best practices, family and community influences, and local, state, and national standards.  Candidates are taught that effective teaching and leadership is a cyclical process that depends on observing student learning, assessing performance, identifying areas that need improvement, and implementing changes in instruction.

2. Diverse Learners: Individuals

Ethically and socially responsible teacher and leadership candidates understand and meet the varying needs and interests of each student with sensitivity to racial, ethnic, socio-economic, ability, and gender differences.  An increasingly wider range of student learning capacities and cultural differences challenge teachers and school leaders.  Candidates' teaching and leadership is informed by standards and knowledge based practices with attention to issues related to inclusion and equity in the classroom.

3. Liberal Arts: Literacies

Ethically and socially responsible teacher and leadership candidates understand the importance of demonstrating mastery of literacy on two levels: a broad base of content knowledge necessary to support student learning and solid literacy skills that include reading, writing, speaking, and listening.   The level of their content knowledge permits them to engage in research, critical thinking, and synthesis. Candidates understand and articulate discipline specific concepts and the appropriate structure and tools of research.  Their strong content knowledge enables them to develop, adapt and implement curriculum aligned with student learning.

Candidates demonstrate a high level of literacy in their day-to-day instructional and leadership practice, and provide a model of effective language usage.

Candidates demonstrate sound knowledge of educational technology in planning, designing, delivering, and evaluating effective learning experiences.

4. Family, School and Community: Partnerships

Ethically and socially responsible teacher and leadership candidates value and recognize the importance of being informed by the community to support student learning.  The community includes the students, teachers, parents, extended family members, staff, board members, school leaders, business owners, politicians, and government representatives.  Candidates understand that a reciprocal relationship between school and community creates a unique learning environment reflective of the culture of the student body and the community.  Toward that end, teacher and leadership candidates must involve community and family members in student learning.

5. Professionalism: Commitments

Ethically and socially responsible teacher and leadership candidates are committed to being leaders in the educational community.  This mission requires a commitment to good teaching and leadership practices that are supported by research and reflection.  Candidates value collegiality and share their knowledge in formal and informal professional forums.