Conceptual Framework

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Conceptual Framework

The unifying theme of NWOSU's Teacher Education Program is Applied Professional Pedagogy Leads to Effective Schools (APPLES).  An apple tree was used to graphically represent the model for the program. The basis or roots for the Teacher Education Program is provided by the faculty member's service, scholarly activity, and teaching.  Faculty member's classroom teaching provides nourishment to the Teacher Education Program through the application and modeling of effective teaching practices that lead to effective schools.  Faculty member's scholarly activities such as research, presentations, and publications, also serve to nurture the teacher preparation program and ensure students are exposed to research-based professional pedagogy that leads to effective schools.  Further sustenance is provided by faculty member's service to the university, the community, public schools, the state, and the nation.

From the collective research and experience of the faculty a knowledge base was developed that is represented by the trunk of the tree since it provides support to the Teacher Education Program.  The competencies which branch from the knowledge base are divided into four domains. The three domains which are addressed in the professional education component of the basic program and in the graduate core classes of the advanced program are: (1) knowledge of Teaching, (2) knowledge of Students, and (3) knowledge of Schools. The fourth domain is Content Knowledge which comes from general education and specialty studies. Candidates’ dispositions are another contributing factor in the development of effective teachers. The branch identified from the root of our CF tree emphasizes the importance of dispositions for all of our candidates.  Dispositions are the professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities.  These positive behaviors support student learning and development. Candidates are continually assessed on their disposition as they progress through the teacher education program and are expected to show evidence of fairness and a commitment to the belief that all students can learn.  The Unit at Northwestern identifies and assesses the following dispositions:  punctuality, organization, high expectations, attitude, initiative, flexibility, poise, confidence, appearance, cultural sensitivity, communication, professional commitment, and professional ethics.

The outcomes resulting from successful completion of the program are represented by APPLES on the tree which are the fruits of our program -effective teachers.  The tree sits on a compact disk with its image reflected on the surface.  This image depicts the latest additions to the Unit’s conceptual framework.  First, the compact disk symbolizes the use of technology in the Teacher Education Program.  The Unit believes that technology plays an integral part in the preparation of tomorrow’s teachers and continually strives to infuse technology into the teaching/learning process.  Secondly, the reflection of the apple tree symbolizes the important role of reflection in the development of educators.  Current research and practice (Hatton and Smith, 1995; Spurgeon and Bowen, 2002) support the incorporation of reflection in the preparation of effective teachers.  Third, the array of colors in the CD symbolizes the commitment to the various elements of diversity. The Teacher Education Unit is committed to creating and maintaining a mutually respectful environment that recognizes, invites, and celebrates diversity among all students, candidates, faculty, and staff.  NWOSU values human differences as an asset; works to sustain a culture that reflects the interests, contributions, and perspectives of members of diverse groups; and delivers educational opportunities to meet the needs of diverse audiences.  The Unit also seeks to instill these values and skills to encourage leadership and service in a global and multicultural society. The Unit has made reflection a part of both the preparation and the assessment of its candidates.