A Conceptual Framework for Educator Preparation: Professional Educators Opening Doors to the Future
“A conceptual framework establishes the shared vision for a unit’s efforts in preparing educators to work in pre-kindergarten through high school (P-12 schools). It provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service, and unit accountability” (NCATE Standards). The essence of the Texas Tech University (TTU) conceptual framework for educator preparation is captured by the theme, Professional Educators Opening Doors to the Future.
The term “professional educators,” refers to the professional education faculty and staff of the university as well as to our graduates who become professional educators in their own right. It is essential to use “opening doors to the future” in a concrete manner to guide educator preparation at TTU. One way to do so is to consider the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable the doors to be opened. We, as professional educators, share knowledge, develop skills, and model dispositions with our candidates enabling them to open doors to their futures. In turn, our graduates, as professional educators, share knowledge, develop skills, and model dispositions with their students and clients allowing those individuals to open doors to their futures.
Furthermore, our work is guided as the doors are metaphorically opened to a future where equity and diversity are commonplace and all individuals are respected and valued. TTU educators and graduates open doors by advocating academic excellence for all people, respecting and valuing all individuals, serving as change agents, and generally providing opportunities for all individuals to be successful.
Professional education programs at Texas Tech University are derived from a conceptual framework having two major data sources. First are knowledge bases, including research findings; sound professional practice; Texas educator proficiencies and content knowledge; and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Second is a societal context including the needs of society, schools, and students; accreditation standards; certification requirements; government initiatives, and guidelines from specialized professional associations.
Data from knowledge bases and the societal context are used to inform the development and continual revision of mission and vision statements. Conversely, knowledge bases are also measured against, and made consistent with, missions, visions, beliefs, ethics and values.
Reflections and actions with respect to missions, visions, beliefs, ethics and values result in the formation of program purposes as specified in program assessment plans (click on “file” column to open a plan) and strategic goals and objectives, which in turn provide the foundation for programs that are focused on clinical experiences, issues of equity and diversity, development and infusion of technology, educator proficiencies, and content knowledge. Programs subsequently prepare graduates who are professional educators able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions; integrate theory and practice; respect and value all individuals; advocate academic excellence for all students; serve as change agents; and remain life-long learners.
The entire conceptual framework is supported by an assessment system, which as stated in the framework, fosters informed decision-making through inquiry, assessment, feedback, and follow up. Evidence gathered and analyzed for all standards is a result of the assessment system, which is informed by the conceptual framework. A visual representation of the conceptual framework follows. In addition, a graphic representation of the framework, with linkages to associated documents foknowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable the doors to be opened. We, as professional educators, share knowledge, develop skills, and model r clarification and elaboration, may be viewed online.