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Conceptual Framework

Philosophy, Purpose, Goals, & Standards

The conceptual framework defines the philosophy, purpose, goals and institutional standards of the program and integrates diversity, appropriate technology, and field experiences throughout the education program.

The graphic below presents the conceptual framework with the six proficiencies, exemplifying initial and advanced programs, defining quality, and preparing professionals for success in a complex, global information society.


To continue The Teachers College legacy through educational excellence and enhanced presence permeated with leadership, diversity and technology.


The mission of The Teachers College and personnel preparation unit is to prepare professionals who provide service to society, apply interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge, engage in effective practice, respond to uncertainty and change, rely on self-reflection and belong to professional community.

Philosophy, Purposes, Goals/Institutional Standards of the Unit

About the framework

The conceptual framework defines the philosophy, purpose, goals and institutional standards of the program and integrates diversity, appropriate technology, and field experiences throughout the education program. Our conceptual framework has evolved from the current, revised definition of the mission statement based on a 20th century view of the professional to a new definition and model of The Professional, who provides service to society, applies interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge, engages in effective practice, responds to uncertainty and change, relies on self-reflection, and belongs to professional community. The graphic above presents the new conceptual framework with the six proficiencies, exemplifying initial and advanced programs, defining quality, and preparing professionals for success in a complex, global information society. The unit developed the new conceptual framework titled “The Professional” with program goals, outcomes, and assessment procedures that build on our earlier program goals, outcomes and assessment procedures. This new conceptual framework captures the continuing philosophy that for educators to help all students learn, they must have a command of content, critical ideas and skills, and the capacity to reflect on, evaluate, and learn from their practice so that it continually improves. The unit embraces the idea that while successful professionals can be highly effective in different ways, common proficiencies draw on shared understanding of how to foster student learning. Our philosophy, expressed in this new framework, is built on a knowledge base about teaching and learning from A Good Teacher in Every Classroom: Preparing the Highly Qualified Teachers Our Children Deserve edited by Linda Darling-Hammond and Joan Baratz-Snowden (2005), and Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and be Able To Do edited by Linda Darling-Hammond and John Bransford (2005), both sponsored by The National Academy of Education. In addition to professional consensus, contributors to these documents used four kinds of research evidence to support recommendations for preparing teachers: basic research on how people learn within social contexts; the influences of different conditions, including specific teaching strategies on what and how people learn; what kind of teacher learning opportunities are associated with teaching practices that, in turn, influence student learning; and how teachers learn (p. 10). Contributors utilized John Dewey’s notion outlined in The Child and the Curriculum (1902) that the needs of the child and the demands of the curriculum are mediated by teachers to create a model that helps to organize vast amounts of information relevant to effective teaching and learning. Underlying our philosophy are beliefs that the world has become a global society that, through the use of technology, is becoming “smaller.” Educators must have knowledge of and respect for all people. To be successful in a world without cultural boundaries requires a commitment to work with all children and youth in the context of their families and/or communities. Educators must have knowledge of and experiences with many cultures. We believe that throughout the education program, students should develop and possess upon graduation, the knowledge, skills and dispositions outlined herein. In addition to providing opportunities to learn about diversity within course content and related learning experiences, the unit is committed to including diverse faculty, as well as diversity of candidates in the program. Emporia State University’s (ESU) faculty, including professional education and content area faculty, support a program designed to develop educators to instruct learners. ESU’s candidates study, learn, and grow in an academic setting that integrates and highlights the connections among general studies, content studies, professional studies, and practical experiences. The candidate preparing for a career in the field of education is immersed in an academic milieu that values a number of tenets the faculty believe to be essential for the professional development and growth of teachers, other school personnel, and others in the helping professions: especially, the value of diversity; the relevance of authentic assessment; the essentials of professionalism; the importance of collaboration; the value of leadership; the significance of access to information; the usefulness of appropriate technology; and the power of reflection. ESU’s professional education programs offered through The Teachers College are devoted to the proposition that candidates who learn and grow in such an atmosphere and who integrate knowledge, theory, and practice begin their professional lives as professional educators.

Education is a Profession

The Professional understands roles and responsibilities as a professional who upholds ethics and promotes equity and diversity in a democratic society. The professional educator prepares independent learners who use knowledge, skills, dispositions, and self-assessment strategies to thrive in a complex, global information society. This view of The Professional grows out of research by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which investigates the fields of law, engineering, teaching, nursing, and the clergy. Drawing from several professions, Shulman (1998, p. 516) identified “six commonplaces” shared by all professionals (see also Gardner & Shulman, 2005). These six proficiencies inform the characteristics of our vision of The Professional: provides service to society; applies interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge; engages in effective practice; responds to uncertainty and change; relies on self-reflection; and belongs to professional community.

Candidate Proficiencies Related to Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

Following is each proficiency and its respective list of candidate knowledge, practical ability, and dispositions, including proficiencies associated with diversity and technology, that are aligned with the expectations in professional, state, and institutional standards.

Proficiency 1: Provides Service to Society.

The Professional provides service to society through ethical and moral commitment to instruct students to seek diverse and global perspectives. Service to society means that educators responsibly serve others by moving beyond their own personal knowledge and experiences to using a wider set of understandings of the problems of helping all students learn.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) characteristics of diverse learners.

2) legal issues and ethical standards that apply to sound educational practices.

3) educational strategies that support the learning for students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) integrate and use concepts from their general, content, and professional studies in their educational environment.

2) demonstrate professional performance that incorporates theory, research, and practice in order to help all students learn.

3) implement non-biased techniques for meeting needs of diverse learners.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) professionalism and ethical standards.

2) respect for cultural and individual differences by providing equitable learning opportunities for all students.

Proficiency 2: Applies Interdisciplinary Scholarly Knowledge.

The Professional utilizes a body of interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge that forms the scientific basis for entitlement to practice. There is a systematic and principled aspect of education and a base of verifiable evidence or knowledge that supports the work. Research on practices and outcomes suggests principles that guide the judgments practitioners must make.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) general education within an intellectual framework.

2) subject matter content and content-specific pedagogy that inform the basis for entitlement to practice.

3) philosophical, historical, social, and theoretical foundations of education.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) integrate knowledge across and within disciplines.

2) use knowledge of subject matter content and instructional strategies to meet the widely-diverse needs of the students they educate.

3) determine and assess what students need to know and be able to do in order to succeed.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) a willingness to think critically about content, curriculum planning, teaching and learning pedagogy, innovative technology, and assessment.

2) the belief that educating children and adults requires the integration of multiple kinds of knowledge.

Proficiency 3: Engages in Effective Practice.

The Professional engages in theory-based effective practice and decision making. Teachers must be able to function as members of a community of practitioners who share knowledge and commitments, work together to create curriculum and systems that support students, and collaborate in ways that advance their combined understandings and skills.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) on-going developments in subject matter content, curriculum planning, instructional theory and practice, classroom management, and assessment.

2) teaching and learning as a dynamic, constructive, and metacognitive process.

3) a repertoire of teaching and learning strategies, designed to help students increase their power as learners.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) utilize creative planning and curriculum integration to promote learning of all students.

2) create learning experiences commensurate with a student’s level of readiness.

3) assess their educational practices, modify their assumptions and actions, and expand their repertoire of skills.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) a desire to analyze concepts, evaluate clinical practices, experiment, and initiate innovative practices as needed.

2) a commitment to life-long learning by participating in professional organizations and by keeping current with research in their field.

Proficiency 4: Responds to Uncertainty and Change.

The Professional responds to uncertainty caused by different needs of students and a changing world with new technologies that appear at an unprecedented rate. Educators need to know a great deal about how to achieve their goals for students in situations that are unpredictable and uncertain.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) ever changing educational needs of students living in a global society.

2) appropriate technology and how it may be used to enhance teaching and learning.

3) various instructional strategies that can be used to meet the needs and learning styles of individual students.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) use and support effective communication techniques in order to develop a positive learning environment.

2) make use of appropriate technology to support student learning.

3) integrate effective behavior management into all interactions with students.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) a commitment to challenge all students to learn and to help every child to succeed.

2) an awareness of the larger social contexts within which learning occurs.

Proficiency 5: Relies on Self-Reflection.

The Professional recognizes the importance of experience and the ability to reflect on one’s practice and its outcomes. Self-reflection includes such things as problem-solving, self-evaluation, and critical thinking. Critical self-reflection was recognized by John Dewey as the most important teacher quality. The educator who has the ability to engage in self-reflection can evaluate, synthesize information, and make decisions about how to modify practices and how to appropriately assess student learning outcomes.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) theories of human physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

2) appropriate techniques for teaching and using self-reflection strategies.

3) a variety of assessment strategies to diagnose and respond to individual learning needs.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) apply a variety of instructional strategies and materials to promote student learning, critical thinking, and problem solving.

2) employ appropriate assessment techniques in order to measure student performance and growth.

3) develop a storehouse of learning strategies that help students understand and integrate knowledge.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) a commitment to self-reflection to recognize in all students human physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

2) a belief that curriculum planning and teaching practices be meaningful, engaging, and adapted to the needs of diverse learners.

Proficiency 6: Belongs to Professional Community.

The Professional is a member of a professional community that creates, records, reproduces, disseminates, organizes, diffuses, utilizes, preserves, and deletes information and develops professional standards. The work of educators in schools is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Schools that provide healthy environments for learning and teaching require the common efforts of all their members.

A. Candidates exhibit knowledge of

1) professional ethics and standards for practice.

2) teamwork and practices for creating healthy environments for learning and teaching.

3) effective communication techniques in order to develop a positive learning environment.

B. Candidates demonstrate practical ability to

1) respond respectfully to ideas and views of others.

2) recognize and appropriately respond to the need for on-going self-development and professional development in response to professional standards of practice.

3) utilize student learning standards to promote student learning and achievement.

C. Candidates exhibit dispositions that exemplify

1) a desire to collaborate with colleagues, parents and community members, and other educators to improve student learning.

2) a willingness to learn from other professionals in the field.

Summary Description of Unit’s Assessment System

The unit’s conceptual framework provides the basis for developing and assessing candidate proficiencies based on state and national standards. Five decision points have been delineated in the unit assessment system for each initial and advanced program: (1) admission to program or program of study, (2) admission to field experience or clinical practice, (3) completion of field experience or clinical practice, (4) program completion, and (5) follow-up of program completers. Each program includes four to five types of assessments: a planning assessment; a field or clinical experience assessment; a student learning assessment; a dispositions assessment; and if applicable, a Praxis II assessment. Unit assessments for all initial candidates are include the Praxis II scores, student teacher evaluation, teacher work sample (includes both planning and student learning), and a dispositions assessment. In addition, each initial program has a unique set of two to four assessments that apply to the content area. Advanced programs have six to eight assessments that apply specially to the content area but include the same five types of assessments. Assessment data for the unit assessments are maintained by the associate dean, and specific content assessments are maintained by program coordinators. Program coordinators submit annual assessment reports showing how the data document that standards are being met and/or the need for program improvement. Unit assessment data is also reviewed by applicable committees and councils to assess programs and unit operations.


Baratz-Snowden, J., & Darling-Hammond, L. (Eds.). (2005). A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the highly qualified teachers our children deserve. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dewey, J. (1902). The child and the curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Shulman, L. S. (1998). Theory, practice, and the education of professionals. Elementary School Journal, 98, 511-526.

Gardner, H., & Shulman, L. S. (2005). The professions in America today: Crucial but fragile. Daedalus, 134(3), 13-18.