II. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The conceptual framework establishes the shared vision for a unit’s efforts in preparing educators to work effectively in P-12 schools. It provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service, and unit accountability. The conceptual framework is knowledge-based, articulated, shared, coherent, consistent with the unit and/or institutional mission, and continuously evaluated. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ABSTRACT The mission of the Department of Education at Wagner College is echoed in its strong commitment to pedagogical practice that is inclusive and constructivist. The unit aims to prepare teacher candidates to work with diverse populations by remaining committed to the deep-seated disposition that all students can learn. Candidates are encouraged to model a constructivist view of knowledge and see learning as a self-regulated process. The unit’s ultimate goal is to prepare caring, curious, competent, committed, and community-active professionals (the 5 C’s). The teacher education program, that prepares students to practice in inclusive settings, has two basic objectives: (1) To help students understand and apply constructivist learning theory (2) To help students, as they gradually progress through the program, to develop an identity as a teacher To accomplish the unit’s ultimate goal and these aforementioned two objectives, systematic assessments at four portals or key transition points in the program (Portal 1 Exploration; Portal 2 Reflection; Portal 3 Consolidation; and Portal 4 Empowerment) have been identified. Students at these various portals are assessed to the degree to which they are meeting the student Learning Outcomes that the unit divided into specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions. See Figure II.I that depicts the conceptual framework curriculum model Summary of key ideas in conceptual framework: I inclusion and constructivism II the 5C’s III developmental approach to becoming a teacher IV assessment at 4 portals V student Learning Outcomes divided into knowledge, skills, and dispositions See NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.1 FIGURE II.1 CURRICULUM MODEL TEPU Wagner College INTRODUCTION The unit’s conceptual framework aims to create and nurture The 5 C’s: Caring, Curious, Competent, Committed, and Community-Active Professionals. The framework is based on essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions derived from current established research and sound professional practice. Although the unit’s ultimate goal is to encourage practitioners who are caring, curious, competent, committed, and community-active the framework is meant to fundamentally engage and challenge candidates to incorporate a constructivist and inclusive approach to thought and action. FIGURE II.2 The 5 C’s: Caring, Curious, Competent, Committed, and Community-Active Professionals The motto of the unit focuses on “making connections.” In pursuit of the 5 C’s: Caring Curiosity Competence Commitment Community Caring - “We should educate all our children not only for competence but also for caring. Our aim should be to encourage the growth of competent, caring, loving, and lovable people.” (Nel Noddings) Curiosity — “reflective process is a powerful approach to professional development.” (Karen Osterman & Robert Kottkamp) Competence “We propose an audacious goal . . . by the year 2006, America will provide all students in the country with what should be their educational birthright: access to competent, qualified teachers” (National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future) Commitment — “I touch the future — I teach.” (attributed to Christa McAuliffe) Community — “Both individual and collective life are, in fact, interdependent enterprises. No one creates or lives life alone! People do better at achieving qualitative lives when they collaborate, interact, and communicate with each other.” (Geneva Gay & Pamula Hart) The unit has adopted a developmental approach to teacher preparation. Each developmental stage represents knowledge of general and disciplinary content, and pedagogical content from a prescribed sequence of courses. Candidates are assessed at the beginning or at the end of each stage to ascertain their worthiness to continue with the program. The following sequential portals (stages) constitute the developmental approach to becoming a teacher at the Initial level: • Exploration: the search for self-identity. Students either beginning a four-year undergraduate program or contemplating a graduate program to change a career are exploring their interest and abilities to become teachers. • Reflection: the consideration of what it means to be an effective teacher. Both undergraduate and graduate students explore and reflect upon their commitment to teach. • Consolidation: the integration of knowledge, skills, and dispositions of teaching. Students are able to recognize the attributes of an effective teacher and demonstrate their intent to become one. • Empowerment: the achievement of power and control over their teacher identity by the celebration of pedagogical judiciousness. Students are committed to enter their chosen profession equipped with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for a successful and rewarding career. These competencies, providing the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions for effective instructional practice, together with the requirements associated with general education knowledge and content knowledge serve to inform the conceptual framework. More specifically, they form the basis with which the unit developed Standards that informed the identification of specific Learning Outcomes. The following ten Unit Standards (many of which reflect the values undergirding the mission of WC, were identified (see conceptual framework document for explication of each standard): 1. Basic Skills 2. Social/Cultural Knowledge. 3. Self-Evaluation/Ethics 4. Advocacy for Social Justice 5. Human Development 6. Communication Skills 7. Specialized Knowledge 8. Teaching/Planning Skills 9. Management and Curriculum 10. Use of Assessment These 10 Unit Standards became the basis for identifying the Learning Outcomes for candidates in the unit. The unit felt that framing these standards in terms of Knowledge, Skill, and Disposition Outcomes would better aid assessment. The Learning Outcomes at the initial level that follow are implicit to the New York State Standards (52.21) for teacher preparation (see NCATE Exhibit DOC. 1.24). These New York State Standards acted as a springboard for the development of these learning outcomes. Knowledge A. Specialized Knowledge The teacher possesses content knowledge and uses such knowledge bases to create meaningful learning environments for students in inclusive settings. B. Human Development and Learning The teacher understands theories underlying inclusive education, and knows how to structure a learning environment conducive to learning for students with diverse learning styles. The teacher understands and assesses the developmental approach to becoming a teacher through critical reflection. C. Student Learning The teacher understands and has knowledge of constructivist learning theory in order to attend to the individual needs of students and to improve student academic achievement in inclusive settings. D. Diversity of Learners The teacher understands and has knowledge of multicultural theories, diversity perspectives, culturally relevant teaching practices, inclusive strategies, and the foundations of education. E. Assessment, Evaluation, Technology and Research The teacher understands and has knowledge of traditional and non-traditional assessment tools, including portfolio and performance-based assessments and technological applications. The teacher possesses sufficient knowledge of assessment and research strategies designed to assist, monitor, and evaluate learning outcomes for all students. Skills A. Curriculum Development and Instructional Planning The teacher designs curricula and plans instruction based on knowledge of the subject matter, student needs, community, and curriculum goals (including State and City performance standards) for an inclusionary model of instruction. B. Instructional Methods and Strategies The teacher uses a variety of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies (i.e., differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences, learning styles, cooperative learning, etc.) in order to facilitate democratic learning communities. C. Learning Environment The teacher implements instructional methods and positive behavioral supports that establish a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, problem solving, and self-regulation. D. Communication The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive classroom interaction. E. Assessment. Research and Technology The teacher uses formal and informal assessment strategies including technology application to evaluate and assess special learning needs and to ensure the continuous intellectual and social development of the learner. The teacher will be able to apply the tools of action research to further evaluate and assess the intellectual and social development of the learner. Dispositions A. Lifelong Learning The teacher demonstrates concern for self-improvement through reflection and professional development. B. Diversity The teacher appreciates diversity in school and society and sees the learning potential in every individual. C. Professional Partnerships The teacher is committed to collaboration in schools and other learning communities and models professional and leadership behaviors in all interactions with school, families, and communities. D. Ethical Behavior The teacher recognizes that educational practices have ethical implications and is committed to fostering a democratic learning community of informed decision-makers. E. Transformative Learning and Teaching The teacher is committed to personal, school and community change. NOTE that these 5 C’s become our ultimate goal, as depicted in Figure II.2, and formed the basis for the 5 dispositions the unit wishes candidates to demonstrate as they seek an initial certification (see Learning Outcomes above). The 5 C’s align with the Unit Standards and Dispositions stated in the Learning Outcomes as follows: Caring: Diversity, Ethical Behavior (Unit Standards 3 and 4) Curiosity: Lifelong Learning (Unit Standards 3 and 4) Competence: All Dispositions (Unit Standards 1 and 7 primarily, but relate to all other Unit Standards as well) Commitment: Transformative Teaching and Learning (Unit Standards 3 and 4) Community: Professional Partnerships (Unit Standards 2, 3, 6 and 8) Shared Vision Evidence collected and compiled by the unit demonstrates that the conceptual framework encompasses a shared vision. WC as a small residential college of approximately 2100 students and approximately 95 resident faculty prides itself on its uniqueness. Its smallness is an asset not only in terms of providing close professional attention to students but also its ability to collaborate on a shared vision for the institution and unit. The unit at WC strives for quality and excellence in every facet of the educational program. The unit aspires to enhance its reputation as a nationally accredited department committed to nurturing caring, curious, competent, committed, community-active reflective practitioners who are concerned, above all else, with transforming the lives of their students. Candidates in the unit are encouraged to develop a deep commitment to inclusion by remaining steadfast in the belief that all children can learn at some developmentally appropriate level. Candidates who possess an inclusive predisposition realize that many social and political forces may impinge on their ability to provide high quality education to all students. Still, these candidates persist and commit to an inclusive educational and pedagogical model. The vision in the unit was developed by considering standards and goals of the following organizations and associations: The New York State Standards for the Teacher Education Programs, The New York State Regents Standards for B- 12 Students, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium Standards (INTASC), and the standards of the professional organizations — Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and National Middle School Association (NMSA) – see DOC 4.1 for table of alignments with standards. Additionally, the foundation of the unit vision rests upon current research theories that are fundamental to teaching and learning demonstrated by faculty who are expertly prepared in the areas that they teach (see NCATE Exhibit DOC. 5.A.-3 and DOC. 5.A.-5). The unit ensures that the WC mission is subsumed in its conceptual framework. Discussion of the conceptual framework at various forums over the course of the past three years has significantly supported a shared vision of commitment to excellence in teacher education. The unit ensures that its vision of excellence in teacher education is shared across the disciplines at WC. The way the curriculum is structured at WC demonstrates this integral sharing of vision. Integral to the shared vision is how the undergraduate curriculum, for instance, is structured. Candidates at the undergraduate level dual major in a content discipline and education. A brief explanation follows: All courses at the undergraduate level are measured in units. A unit is approximately 3.3 credits. Students complete general education requirements and an in depth major(s) totaling 36 course units. Unless indicated all identified courses are quantified as 1 unit. The general education curriculum at WC leans heavily on the Learning Community Concept. Learning Communities are packages of thematically linked courses, enrolling a common cohort of students. Students in Learning Communities experience both the connection and contradictions of the ideas and methodologies among their courses. Learning Communities at the freshman level have an experiential learning component and a reflective tutorial (RFT) which emphasizes writing skills. The RFT is linked to the academic coursework and the experiential learning component. At the freshman level, TEPU identified appropriate learning communities for students intending to major in teacher education. At the sophomore/junior and senior levels the Learning Communities directly reflect the content of the pedagogical core and the New York State Regents Student Learning Standards. WC’s general education program, known as the “liberal arts core” is a constellation of requirements that provide students with a breadth of knowledge in subjects outside of their concentration. The “core” helps students to explore multiple domains of knowledge, including the sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, the arts and various modes of communication. For a fuller discussion, see NCATE Exhibit DOCs 1.5-1.13 regarding Registration documents. Coherence Coherence is ensured in the design and implementation of the education program through a collaborative effort between faculties in the arts and sciences and faculties in professional education. Faculties in each of these divisions work together to ensure a coherent program. In 2000-2001, all of WC’s teacher education programs were redesigned and re-registered in response to redrafted New York State education regulations. The state’s new regulations align with NCATE standards, emphasizing clearly-articulated philosophy, purposes, and objectives; field-based experiences; arts and sciences requirements and articulation with arts and sciences faculty; knowledge and skills regarding the diversity of learners and their communities; technology-enhanced learning. Prior to this re-registration process, degrees (i.e., Bachelor of Science in Education) were awarded to candidates because ownership of educational programs was sole responsibility of the WCDOE. In the redesign process, liberal arts and sciences assumed greater responsibility for preparing candidates by partnering with faculty from education. Bachelor degrees are now awarded in the content area or major discipline with certification awarded by the unit. Such partnership lends itself most effectively for a more coherent educational and curricular program. To provide for a system of coherence among curriculum, instruction, field experiences, clinical practice, and assessment across a candidate’s program, the unit routinely and systematically monitors its operations and works collaboratively (i.e., arts and sciences together with education faculty) to ensure the highest quality of offerings. Coherence is further enhanced in the overall structure of the curriculum. The conceptual framework incorporates knowledge, skills, and dispositions the unit deems essential. They are reflected in our program’s knowledge bases and goals. Student learning outcomes have been derived from these goals, and assessment strategies developed to reflect the outcomes. Ongoing assessments of outcomes are used to improve the design of the overall program and its constituent parts. Coherence is also ensured by aligning the unit’s learning outcomes with SPA standards (see DOC. 4.1) and the Curriculum Mapping project (see DOC. 4.7). Table II.1 demonstrates the unit’s commitment to coherent programming. Table II.1 From Concept to Results in Wagner College’s Professional Education Programs WAGNER COLLEGE TEACHER EDUCATION POLICY UNIT (TEPU) The Preparation of Caring, Curious, Competent, Committed, and Community-Active Ultimate Goal Reflective Practitioners (The Ultimate Goal of Professional Education Programs at Wagner College) Conceptual The 5 C’s within a constructivist and inclusive paradigm that are translated into applied Framework Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions (The Conceptual Framework Relevant to the Professional Education Program) Knowledge The Knowledge Base Undergirding the Professional Education Program Base (see Course Outlines; NCATE Exhibit DOC. 3.16 and DOC. 4.7-Curriculum Mapping) Expected Outcomes Expected Student Learning Outcomes and Competencies For Candidates Generic Across All Teacher Education Programs Program Design/Revision of the Curriculum Description Goals-Sequence of Courses and Experiences (Curriculum Summary Sheets, see NCATE Exhibit DOC. 3.12) Actual Outcomes for Actual Performance Measures* Candidates Generic Across All Teacher Education Programs (see program assessments Doc. 1.C.-5) Professional Commitments and Dispositions Candidates are encouraged to model a constructivist view of knowledge and see learning as a self-regulated process. Candidates are also encouraged to value inclusive practices that benefit all learners. Attaining the knowledge and skills to put both of these fundamental concepts into action are paramount. Knowledge and skill development, however, are not enough. The unit places much emphasis on ensuring that candidates are professionally committed and personify key dispositions. Dispositions, values, attitudes, and beliefs are a “subset of a group of constructs that name, define, and describe the structure and content of mental states that are thought to drive a person’s actions” (Richardson, 1996, p. 102; note that all citations are formally referenced in the conceptual framework, see NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.1). In a sense, however, one’s disposition (inclination towards some action) and one’s attitude (view towards something or someone) are influenced fundamentally by one’s beliefs (psychologically held understandings, premises, and propositions about the world). One’s beliefs may be influenced by many factors including, among others, family, culture, and experience. Although a taken-for-granted assumption has been that education programs at the college play a relatively small role in framing one’s beliefs about teaching and learning (McDiarmid, 1990; Rokeach, 1968), new research points to shattering this myth (Mahlios & Maxson, 1995). Indeed, the unit maintains that beliefs can be altered and framed by the unit if they emphasize exploration of beliefs in a systematic and ongoing way. Beliefs fundamentally influence our dispositions, attitudes, and, ultimately, human actions. “Values” are those articulated beliefs that influence what educators do in the classroom and school. Cognizant of this distinction, the unit has identified those values or ideals considered important and that reflect the institutional mission and align with NCATE, INTASC, NYS Standards. The unit’s ultimate goal in preparing caring, curious, competent, committed, and community- active professionals (the 5 C’s) reflects the institutional mission that articulates a commitment to “critical thinking and reflection, diversity, leadership and citizenship.” Derived from the aforementioned 10 unit standards, the unit developed five essential dispositions or professional commitments (i.e., lifelong learning, diversity, professional partnerships, ethical behavior and transformative teaching and learning) that as a whole enable candidates to personify the 5 C’s (for assessments related to candidates’ dispositions, see NCATE Exhibit DOC 1 .F.-2 and DOC. 1 .F.-3). Commitment to Diversity As an academic community, the unit at WC asserts that diversity is not only an end in itself, but rather a means of obtaining a larger, important educational goal; that is preparing teacher candidates to appreciate diversity in its many facets so that they can more effectively design, implement, and evaluate curriculum and experiences that promote student learning. The unit prepares teacher candidates to teach and work in inclusive settings with students of diverse abilities. Candidates are encouraged to develop a deep commitment to inclusion by remaining steadfast in the belief that all children can learn at some developmentally appropriate level. The conceptual framework contains a strong inclusive focus that allows for growth and change of values, knowledge, and practices. The unit is committed to inclusion and works to deliver, sustain, and advance diversity in teacher education. The unit’s foundations and methods courses address the nature and needs of diverse populations inclusive of students with cultural and linguistic differences, special education needs, gender and sexual orientation difference, socioeconomic and family structure difference, racial and ethnic variance, geographic region difference as well as students who are deemed at risk. The at-risk populations include students with drug dependence, teen pregnancy, students in homes experiencing trauma such as divorce, job loss of death in the family. Candidates develop knowledge of the nature and needs of diverse populations as well as develop skills in working the diverse students in inclusive classrooms. Candidate dispositions toward people of all backgrounds are explored and refined through discussions of personal experience, observation and course training. Based upon the NCATE, INTASC, CEC. and others standards (see DOC. 4.1), the unit has identified three goals for undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs: 1. Candidates will develop the requisite knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to working with diverse student populations through program curriculum to effectively challenge students towards cognitive complexity and engage all students through instructional conversation. 2. Candidates will participate in extensive and substantive field experiences and clinical practices involving diverse student populations inclusive of students with exceptional learning needs and background differences which include ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, language, religion. The experience will help candidates confront issues of diversity and develop strategies for improving student learning and effectiveness as teachers. 3. Candidates will interact with diverse faculty in college and schools settings who represent differing ethnic, gender, language, exceptionality and religious differences who are sensitive to preparing candidates to work effectively with diverse student populations. In sum, commitment to diversity is reflected in the institutional mission, mission of the unit, unit standards, learning outcomes, including dispositions. Examples of how students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of diversity follow: 1. Candidates required to complete field experiences in schools that have a diverse student population (i.e., ethnically and culturally) (See e.g., NCATE Exhibit DOC. 3.A.-2) 2. Candidates are prepared to teach in inclusive classrooms (most of the programs in the unit lead to dual NYS teacher certification in Regular and Special Education) 3. Candidates’ lesson plans reflect differentiated instruction that accommodate the diverse learning styles of students (See e.g., sample lesson plans and other work at http://ww1.wagner.edu/departments/education/students/work) 4. Candidates interact effectively with students, colleagues and peers from diverse backgrounds (See NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.B, DOC. 4.C., and DOC. 4.D.) 5. Candidates are sensitive to the different needs of students and peers from diverse backgrounds, and use curricula materials accordingly 6. Candidates are required to read, reflect, and analyze the ways children’s home language and literacy environments influence their language and literacy development. They focus on children who are culturally, linguistically, and economically different from the mainstream. See NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.14 for Strategic Plan that addresses diversity. Commitment to Technology Consistent with the conceptual framework, the unit acknowledges the importance of preparing candidates in the use of technology that promotes teaching and learning. Learning Outcomes have been identified to strengthen technological competencies among candidates. One such learning outcome follows: Assessment, Evaluation. Technology and Research The teacher understands and has knowledge of traditional and non-traditional assessment tools, including portfolio and performance-based assessments and technological applications. The teacher possesses sufficient knowledge of assessment and research strategies designed to assist, monitor, and evaluate learning outcomes for all students. To best prepare candidates, the unit understands that educational computing and technology (ECT) is an emerging field that encompasses many sub-disciplines. This field includes knowledge about and use of computers and related technologies for (1) integration of technology and curriculum to support learning; (2) delivery, development, prescription, and assessment of instruction; (3) effective use of computers as an aid to problem solving; (4) school and classroom management; (5) educational research; (6) electronic information access and exchange; (7) personal and professional productivity; (8) technical assistance and leadership; and (9) computer science education. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), of which the WCDOE is a member, recognizes that educational computing and technology foundations (NETS for Teachers) are essential for all teachers. The NCATE standards lie at the heart of quality teacher preparation. ISTE has developed performance assessment standards that will exhibit knowledge, skills, and dispositions equipping teachers to teach technology applications; demonstrate effective use of technology to support student learning of content; and provide professional development, mentoring, and basic technical assistance for other teachers who require support in their efforts to apply technology to support student learning. Based upon ISTE/NCATE National Educational Technology Standards, the unit has identified three NETS Foundations to integrate into its graduate and undergraduate courses. 1. Technology Operations and Concepts. Candidates will be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts. 2. Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences. Candidates plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology. 3. Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum. Candidates implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning. In sum, the unit, as reflected in the conceptual framework, is committed to preparing candidates to feel comfortable using technology for research, communication, and most importantly as a teaching tool. Technological literacy is enhanced by: 1. Using Livetext (www.livetext.com) as a comprehensive network of web-based tool- field- tested, and currently optional - used in ED 335, 613, and 650. 2. Requiring computer course CS 322 - Database Programs and Connectivity – for WC undergraduates majoring in education. 3. Integrating technology in lesson planning via use of PowerPoint presentations, project-based concepts for teaching, or the use of educational software. Students are introduced to Inspiration and its many uses to help promote student learning in the inclusive classroom. 4. Modeling technology use in classroom by faculty (e.g., Dr. Lauria, Dr. Glanz, Dr. Stuckart, Dr. Frumkin) 5. Developing electronic multidisciplinary unit plans in, e.g., ED 335, 637, 650. 6. Promoting literacy through technology. Candidates develop lessons that integrate technological components in literacy, i.e., Classroom Inc., a computer-based program designed to enhance student’s understandings of the various components of publishing a magazine. As students begin to design the magazine, they learn how to problem solve, think critically and use time management skills to work more efficiently. See NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.14 for Strategic Plan that addresses technology and College Technology Plan in NCATE Exhibit DOC. 6.E.-2. Also, provost initiative called “Technobytes”: provides college-wide discussion forums on ways to integrate technology into teaching. Technology, as an important learning outcome, is integrated throughout courses in all programs (see NCATE Exhibit DOC. 3.16), although some courses explicitly address technology (e.g., ED 335 Assessment, Evaluation, and Technology and ED 668 Secondary Education Curriculum & Methods of Inclusive Instruction: Mathematics and Technology). Candidate Proficiencies Aligned with Professional and State Standards Candidate learning outcomes or proficiencies reflect the conceptual framework as well as city, state, and national standards. Portfolio and coursework assessment, and field experience evaluations are all aligned with each other and reflect NYS standards, INTASC Principles, and standards by appropriate professional organizations. See NCATE Exhibit DOC. 4.1.
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