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School of Education

Conceptual Framework



Knowledgeable Scholar

According to Darling-Hammond (2005), the single most important determinate of what students learn is what their teachers know. We believe it is essential that candidates not only master content knowledge, but also have the pedagogical, professional and technological knowledge required of a knowledgeable scholar. Pedagogical content knowledge refers to teachers' deep knowledge about the processes and practices of teaching and learning applicable to the teaching of specific content (Shulman, 1986). It is the collective wisdom of one's teaching practice with respect to content knowledge, subject expertise, pedagogy, students, and the curriculum (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008; Schartz, 2008). Recent definitions include the integration of technology into pedagogy (Cavanagh & Koehler, 2013; Koehler, M. J. & Mishra P., 2009; Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Coined Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, TPCK is the knowledge and skills that teachers need to integrate technology into instruction in specific content areas (Koehler & Mishra, 2008) through rich connections between technology, content and pedagogy (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Technology is infused throughout the SOE conceptual elements. The knowledgeable scholar is also well-versed in professional knowledge that includes knowledge about learning, diversity, professional ethics, legal and policy issues, and the roles and responsibilities of the teaching profession (NCATE/CAEP Glossary).

KS1. Content Knowledge
The knowledgeable scholar is skilled in the art and science of learning, in both the intuitive and research-driven knowledge and practices. These include knowledge of facts, concepts, and procedures that define a given field and an understanding of how these pieces fit together and apply to real life situations. Included in this schema is knowledge about knowledge - where it comes from, how it grows, and how truth is established (Anderson, 1988).
KS2. Professional Knowledge/Pedagogical Knowledge
The knowledgeable scholar is familiar with theories and best practices of teaching and learning. The scholar proceeds from the background of information available in the professional literature and acts to appropriately sort out findings and conclusions for application in the context of practice. Concepts and available theories challenge the knowledgeable scholar to advance knowledge that is grounded on theory and research.

The knowledgeable scholar has a special blend of knowledge and pedagogy and their translation to curricular events (Shulman, 1987). The knowledgeable scholar understands the major concepts that are central to the subjects being taught and can relate the knowledge of one discipline to another subject matter while being sensitive to cultural influences within and across cultures (Smith, 1991).
KS3. Technological Knowledge
The knowledgeable scholar uses technology to engage in professional development and continuous learning. The scholar uses technology as teaching and learning tools for professional growth. The knowledgeable scholar applies technology for effective assessment and evaluation strategies. Technology resources are utilized to collect and analyze data, interpret results and communicate findings to improve instructional practices and maximize student learning.
KS4. Service Learning/Ethics/Social Responsiveness
The knowledgeable scholar's role is to serve the local community through the practice and spirit of collegial sharing. Learning from service strengthens one's "ethic of care". Serving others helps develop empathy and social responsibility (AACTE, 2002). The knowledgeable scholar "participates in organized service activities to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility" (Hatcher, 1995).

The knowledgeable scholar is guided by the ethics of service and professional practice. The scholar protects and defends human subjects in addition to interacting with others in the spirit of what is best and appropriate in the context of practice.

The knowledgeable scholar is socially responsible in that he/she "participates actively in his/her school, district, local and global communities" (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1993). The knowledgeable scholar is responsive to peoples' needs and interests, and acts with care and love to bring the best to their lives.

Reflective Decision-Maker

Drawing from the seminal works of Dewey (1938), Schon (1987) and Zeichner & Liston (1996), Minott (2009) defines reflection as careful consideration; a process of disciplined intellectual criticism combining research; knowledge of context, and balanced judgment (critical thinking) about previous, present, and future actions, events or decisions. Recent literature on reflection (Bradbury. H., Frost, N., Kilminster, S. & Zukas, M. 2009; Thompson & Pascal, 2012) argue for critical reflection that is grounded in the reality of modern social change and an emphasis on reflection as a social practice (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006) that takes place within communities of teachers who support and sustain each other's growth. Given the evolving perspective on critical reflection, SOE faculty encourage candidates to become socially responsible and critically reflective practitioners by actively participating in school, district, local and global communities.

RD1. Adaptations and Innovations/Holistic Perspective/ Critical Analysis and Synthesis of Subject
A professional educator is a reflective decision-maker who is thoughtful and has the disposition to critically "analyze situations, set goals, plan and monitor actions, evaluate results, and reflect on one's professional thinking" (Colton & Sparks-Langer, 1993). The reflective decision-maker is skilled in adapting to changing situations and bringing innovations that are relevant, necessary and appropriate to benefit everyone concerned.

A reflective decision-maker seeks to understand things in their connected whole and critically judges matters only after a thorough knowledge of them has been achieved. He/she is careful not to present concepts without synthesizing them into a coherent whole for easy and efficient understanding.

Critical analysis and synthesis constitutes yet another very important aspect of the reflective decision-maker's professional life. Critical analysis involves taking a critical look at biases, prejudices, discriminations, distortions, and misrepresentations that may be present in one's attitude, language, teaching approaches, and selection of learning materials. The reflective decision-maker explores diverse views on a given subject before drawing conclusions to ensure all perspectives are considered and used.
RD2. Accountability for Student Learning
The reflective decision-maker has a high sense of accountability to the public and the community for the service he/she provides. The reflective decision-maker is responsible for evidence of what students know and are able to do. He/she uses multiple assessments to understand and interpret students' total performance.
RD3. Self Evaluation and Professional Growth
Self-evaluation is an essential element in the life of a reflective decision-maker. Self- evaluation involves a critical analysis of one's professional life to determine where improvement and growth are needed. The reflective decision-maker promotes growth and change in others, as well as, improvement of self. Self evaluation is a continuous process aimed at making the professional a better practitioner.

Effective Communicator

Effective communication is vital to the role of an educator. The effective communicator is skilled in verbal and nonverbal forms, able to deliver a clear message. Verbal and non-verbal communication affects communication transaction, interpretation, and meaning. Therefore, it is useful to distinguish between the two types. Verbal communication is "any type of spoken communication that uses one or more words" while "nonverbal communication is all of the messages we transmit without words or over and above the words we use" (Tubbs & Moss, 2006, p. 12-13). Skilled in intercultural communications (Sorrells, 2013), the effective communicator understands that cultures have different ways of communicating verbally and non-verbally and seeks to understand how students from different countries and cultures act, communicate, and perceive the world around them.

EC1. Verbal/Nonverbal Skills/ Language Processes
The fundamental purpose of verbal and nonverbal forms is to communicate knowledge and strategies that can be used to help learners become more literate in the subject area. The effective communicator helps learners become more motivated with skillful use of verbal and nonverbal forms.

Skilled in verbal and nonverbal forms, the effective communicator is able to deliver a clear message. He/she uses an appealing medium. The message is what is transmitted and the medium is how it is transmitted.

The effective communicator uses language processes to enhance learner ability to cope successfully with subject matter materials. Readence, Bean and Baldwin (2001) believe that all language processes can be utilized as means to approach learning through reading, speaking, listening, writing and viewing. Research on writing (Tierney & Shanahan, 1991) has further pointed out the interconnections between reading and writing and has suggested that reading be viewed as a composing process. In effect, writing, listening, and speaking become additional tools to teach content.

The effective communicator uses the receptive language processes of reading and listening and integrates them with the expressive processes of writing and speaking to continually promote thinking and learning with content materials.
EC2. Adaptability
The effective communicator tailors instruction by adapting presentations to the needs, abilities and experiential backgrounds of the learners. The inclusion of prior knowledge into the development of a solid knowledge base is necessary. Thus, learners are encouraged to bridge what they already know to what they ought to know. The effective communicator constantly monitors comprehension through various interaction methodologies. Thus, the effective communicator further clarifies, probes and enhances understanding and learning.
EC3. Interpersonal Skills
The effective communicator is committed to the development of positive relationships with people. He/she is sensitive to learners by creating favorable environments for learning, recognizes diversity and makes provision for it, and encourages active learner involvement.
EC4. Affective Skills
The effective communicator displays passion in his/her profession. This passion creates a climate of understanding and concern for others. This is accomplished by listening carefully, responding thoughtfully, and presenting a supportive demeanor which encourages others to express themselves. The effective communicator is caring, emphatic and assertive without being aggressive or judgmental.

The effective communicator appeals to the whole person. The messages conveyed touch the mind, heart, spirit and culture of the learners. The message inspires the reflection to bring about needed changes in attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors. Therefore, the effective communicator is a caring and skillful professional who applies traditional and contemporary communication strategies to make a difference in a diverse society.

Diversity Proficiencies

Knowledgeable Scholar
The teacher, counselor, and administrator candidates are knowledgeable about diversity in the physical, cognitive and social domains.
Reflective Decision-Maker
The teacher, counselor, and administrator candidates explore diverse views on a given subject before drawing conclusions to ensure all perspectives are considered and used.
Effective Communicator
The teacher, counselor, and administrator candidates establish communication patterns that incorporate diverse views.
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