SWCU Conceptual Framework Themes/Standards
The goal of the SWCU teacher education program is for graduates to be:
CARING-for all students and the belief that all can learn
ON professional and personal practice
SERVICE-guided as a model of Christian character through leadership and involvement
SCHOLARSHIP-minded in the pursuit of life-long learning
1. Caring - for all students and the belief that all can learn:
a. A caring teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences (InTASC Standard #1).
b. A caring teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards (InTASC Standard #2).
c. A caring teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation (InTASC Standard #3).
Caring Teacher – a caring teacher understands how learners grow and develop and strives to create a learning environment that meets their holistic needs. Caring involves reaching out to all students, appreciating their differences, and building a positive community for achieving high standards.
For the Christian educator, caring for all students and the belief that all can learn is grounded ultimately in the character of God himself, learned through our engagement with the teachings of Scripture, and demonstrated properly through a wise and humble spirit (Ephesians 4:32, New International Version). Christian teachers show care for their students by understanding how learners grow and meeting each individual’s needs, understanding differences and caring about creating an inclusive environment, and working with others to ensure a positive educational experience for all.
2. Reflective - On professional and personal practice;
a. A reflective teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making (InTASC Standard #6).
b. A reflective teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways context (InTASC Standard #8).
c. A reflective teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner (InTASC Standard #9).
Reflective Teacher - a reflective teacher continually evaluates the effects of his/her practices, choices and actions on others and who actively seeks opportunities to grow professionally. Reflection not only occurs during the technical aspects of teaching – such as planning, teaching, assessing, evaluating, and revising – but encompasses the decisions about how to engage learners, how to encourage learners to develop a deep understanding and how to guide the learner’s decision making.
For the Christian educator, continually reflecting on the effects of their choices and actions on others is demonstrated through the teachings of Christ as a teacher. Even though the Bible doesn’t use the term reflective, it does refer to insight, understanding and discretion when teaching (Proverbs 1:2 NIV). Reflective teaching does involve all three: insight into the effectiveness of our actions and their impact on others; understanding of how to engage and develop understanding in others; and discretion in evaluating what was most effective. Reflective teaching is an essential element in our efforts to model Christ and serve as Christian educators (Elliott, 1995).
3. Service - as a model of Christian character through leadership and involvement
a. A service-guided teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession (InTASC Standard #10).
b. A service-guided teacher seeks opportunities to be involved in the lives of others and regards the classroom as the ultimate opportunity to connect theory with practice as they serve students, teachers, administrators, and the community.
Service-guided Teacher – a service-guided teacher seeks first to serve others through leadership roles and recognizes the value of involvement; pursues collaborations with others, and serves in the P-12 environment in order to positively impact the lives of others.
As Christian educators, we believe service to others is doing whatever you do with all your heart (Colossians 3:23, NIV). Teacher preparation involves the whole person not just acquiring a head of knowledge, but also developing a heart of service. Serving others is as an integral part of our preparation program as we recognize the value in building relationships and working together to accomplish collaborative goals.
Jesus stated “…but whoever wants to be first, must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44, NIV). In other words, the one who has responsibility for others’ development is really a servant to everyone involved in that development.
4. Scholarship - in the pursuit of life-long learning
a. A scholarly teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content (InTASC Standard #4).
b. A scholarly teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues (InTASC Standard #5).
c. A scholarly teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context (InTASC Standard #7).
Scholarly Teacher – a scholarly teacher must possess general knowledge, content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and professional knowledge to be effective. However, knowing is not enough, teachers must be able to connect concepts and apply them in an educational manner meeting the needs of all learners in the pursuit of life-long learning.
We are called to be scholarship-minded which is permeated within our Christian faith. We are committed to teaching, excellence, and scholarship “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; …– let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:1-5, NIV).
Conceptual Framework Impact
The Southwestern Christian University Department of Education Conceptual Framework guides our work as a unit. It is consensus-based and provides the foundation for all we do. The SWCU Conceptual Framework has encompassed the InTASC standards to address the fundamental issues of what our candidates need to know (critical knowledge), what they need to be able to do (skills/performances), what they value and how teachers do, in fact, act in practice (critical dispositions) (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011). The unit works to ensure that the programs and thus its teacher candidates are as knowledgeable of their field as possible. To that end the unit has aligned its program with standards set forth by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation, the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) (see Appendix B: InTASC Standards) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Our conceptual framework also supports the essence of our Christian mission by embracing a strong commitment to preparing teacher candidates who demonstrate caring for all students and the belief that all can learn; who reflect on professional and personal practice; who serve as a model of Christian character through leadership and involvement; and who pursue scholarship as an integral part of life-long learning.
The SWCU Conceptual Framework Themes have been cross aligned to InTASC Standards, Oklahoma General Competency Knowledge, and NCATE Standards based on the alignment chart provided by the Commission on Teacher Preparation showing alignment of 2011 InTASC Standards, 1992 INTASC Standards, and the Oklahoma General Competencies for Teacher.
The SWCU Framework has adopted the InTASC Standards and the performances, essential knowledge, and dispositions as the objectives for the SWCU Teacher Education Program.