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Conceptual Framework

Introduction

The University of New Orleans (UNO), the urban research university of the State of Louisiana, provides essential support for the educational, economic, cultural, and social well-being of the culturally rich, diverse New Orleans metropolitan area. Located in an international city, the university serves as an important link between Louisiana and both the nation and the world. The university strategically serves the needs of the region through its undergraduate and graduate programs and through mutually beneficial collaborations with public and private bodies whose missions and goals are consistent with and supportive of UNO's teaching as well as its scholarly and community service objectives.

Philosophical and Pedagogical Foundations

The Theory-Practice-Research-Interaction Model guides the construction of the unit’s curricula, instruction, and application. It is based on our discussions and readings in a variety of areas in educational theory, research, and practice, including diversity (Alyson, 1985; Banks, 2007; hooks, 1992, 2000, 2004; Pulitano, 2003; Sugirtharijah, 2003), gender issues (American Association of University Women, 1990; Belenky, Clinchy, McVicker, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1997; Brown, & Gilligan, 1990; Gilligan, 1982; Sadker & Sadker, 1986; Smith, 1982; Walker, 1985; Williams, 2006), curriculum theory and design (Bruner, 1964, 1968, 1973, 1990; Eisner, 1992, 1985a, b; Greene, 1999; Grumet, 1988; Pinar & Reynolds, 1992), critical theory and post colonialism (Apple, 1993, 1995, 2004; Bourdieu, & Passeron, 1977; Chrisman, 2003; Giroux, Lankshear, McLaren, & Peters, 1996; Liberman, 1993; Mair, 2003; Ravitch, 2011; Singh & Schmidt, 2000), social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), constructivism (Bereiter, 1994; Glasersfeld, 1996; Phillips, 1995; Resnick, 1986; Steffe & Kieren, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978, 1986), development (Brainerd, 1974; Inhelder, & Piaget, 1958; Piaget, 1952a,b, 1970a, b, 1971; Piaget & Inhelder, 1956), school and home cultures (Bruner, 1996; Ogbu, 1981; Ward, 1986), classroom discourse (Cazden, 1988; Mehan, 1979), progressivism (Dewey, 1909/1975, 1910, 1911, 1916/1966, 1920, 1938, 1964; Dixon, 1992; Egan, 2011), epistemology (Eisner, 1985a, b; Foucault, 1972), liberation theory/pedagogy/praxis (Freire,1973, 1990,1996, 1998), coping (Frydenberg, 1997), change (Fullen, 2003; Lankshear & Knobel, 2006), multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1993), moral development (Kohlberg, 1981, 1984), poverty (Kozul, 1992), science (Kuhn, 1996; Lakatos & Musgrave, 1970; Popper, 1963), communication theories (McLuhan, 1962), caring (Noddings, 1998), and language development and linguistics (Chomsky, 1957, 1965, 1968; Searle, 1984; Slobin, 1985a, b, c, d, 1997).

Practice is a collection of empirical actions engaging active participation in the curriculum. It forms from the interaction of theory (personal, disciplinary, and cultural) and research to build the curriculum enactment, which engages learners and their instructors at every level in inquiry, activity, and assessment. Practice is guided by inquiry into theories and research in such areas as social justice, diversity, learner development, linguistic variation, performance, culturally sustaining pedagogy (Paris, 2012), and the disciplines.

Research is a discourse on practice and theory where empirical evidence is presented, analyzed, and interpreted to validate and falsify practice and as input to theory construction. It forms from the interaction of practice and theory to construct the rationales for and evaluations of practice; it presents anomalies for further research and theory building through empirical actions. Research in both qualitative and quantitative modes is required for the construction of practice and theory.

Theory is a meta-discourse on traditions and interpretation of research and practice. It interacts with practices and research to build new theory and continue the validation of traditions. Theory is guided by inquiry using tools and scholarship into education and other disciplines to build explanatory discourses on institutions and individuals.

Together, the interactions of theory, practice, and research undergird the roles and responsibilities of candidates in the College of Education and Human Development at UNO. The Theory-Practice-Research-Interaction Model provides the unit with a complex and nuanced organization that provides a shared basis for actions of all the participants in the COEHD’s programs.

conceptual framework (CF) for the professional education programsThe figure depicts the conceptual framework (CF) for the professional education programs in the COEHD. Our conceptual framework, the theory-practice-research-interaction model, permeates the programs that prepare candidates for professional roles in school settings. As candidates progress through their professional studies, they are introduced to formal theories and concepts validated by research and practice, which, along with their personally held beliefs and assumptions, inform their professional practice and the development of theories.

As candidates engage in various clinical and field experiences, observation and study of professional practices inform and refine the educational theories and concepts they construct, providing an experiential basis for understanding research and implementing research-based practices. Our goal is to have candidates internalize the theory-practice-research-interaction model as they develop into reflective practitioners constantly reassessing the educational theories, beliefs, and assumptions they embrace.

In addition, we in the COEHD regularly revisit the formal and informal theories, practices, and research to which we subscribe as we reflect on the feedback from candidates who complete our programs, as well as from the professional educators, family members, and community personnel who work with our candidates in clinical and field experiences. This continuous input helps us better prepare our candidates to be highly effective educators.

Constructs

The COEHD model includes two constructs: levels, roles and responsibilities where theory, practice and research interact.

Levels

The first construct refers to two program levels: initial and advanced. Initial level programs include all programs of study resulting in initial teaching certification. This level includes the undergraduate degree programs as well as the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) programs, each of which results in initial certification. Advanced level programs include all programs that result in additional (add-on) certifications or an advanced degree in the field of education. This level includes masters (M.Ed.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) programs as well as the aforementioned advanced/add-on certification options.

Roles and Responsibilities

The second construct, roles and responsibilities, refers to the tasks and responsibilities assumed by educators to be effective in terms of student learning and school improvement. The roles and responsibilities outline the broad domains for developing competence for novices becoming teachers and administrators as viewed through the lens of Theory-Practice-Research-Interaction. Three sets of roles, one for each key school career addressed by the College of Education and Human Development, are included in the framework.

The roles of effective teachers were identified via a review of the various Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs) that inform the standards for the multiple Teacher Education certification areas offered by the college, state standards, the Danielson Model, the state’s COMPASS evaluation system for teachers, the Common Core State Standards, and the gaps associated with the various theoretical foundations and research informing our practices. The roles for Educational Leaders are aligned with the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). The standards associated with the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) were used to develop the roles for Counselor Educators.

The roles are primarily used to form a framework to assist candidates in reflecting on their professional practice and the outcomes resulting from their work with students and schools. These roles are used in two ways: 1) to critique candidate performance by determining the specific roles in which he/she is engaged to bring about a specific outcome, and 2) to identify the next steps to take in order to extend current work or engage in an improvement initiative. The role framework provides support for the program of study to move beyond a competency-based program in which specific performances are demonstrated one time to verify knowledge and skills, to a performance-based program in which specific knowledge and skills are used in different combinations based on the presenting need of the student and setting. Following are the roles that support teachers, educational leaders, and counselors to be Reflective Practitioners:

Roles and Responsibilities of Professionals in Teacher Education

  • Effective teachers manage classroom contexts and environments, establishing a culture for learning by managing classroom procedures, managing student behavior, organizing physical space, organizing classrooms to integrate technology, and maintaining accurate records using available technology. They create an environment of respect and rapport by using cultural contexts in the classroom, demonstrating knowledge of diversity among students, and presenting rationales for change to meet student needs.
  • Effective teachers design curriculum and instruction. They understand and use curriculum and instruction, by knowing content and pedagogy, setting instructional outcomes, designing coherent instruction, designing student assessments, and incorporating knowledge of diversity in the classroom. They plan for the use of technologies in curriculum and instruction and demonstrate knowledge of resources, including technologies. They plan for the use of collaborative group practices in the classroom, and they incorporate effective written and oral communication in the classroom.
  • Effective teachers deliver instruction and assess learning. They engage students in active learning by interacting effectively with students, demonstrating flexibility and responsiveness, and integrating technology and other resources. They integrate disciplines into instruction by applying connections to multiple disciplines and demonstrating connections to real life. They use assessment in instruction by incorporating performance tasks in the classroom, using questioning and discussion techniques, and using pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment appropriately. They embed diversity in decision-making by selecting resources, delivering instruction, and assessing learning,
  • Effective teachers participate in professional responsibilities. They advocate for children, in terms of services and supports by communicating with families and demonstrating knowledge of resources in school and the community. They collaborate to improve professional practice by engaging in a professional community, participating in professional development, collaborating with teachers and mentors, developing goals for social justice, and using research-based practices that include current available technology. They reflect on teaching and learning, focusing on cultural contexts and social justice and systematically collect and analyze data to improve practice.

Roles and Responsibilities of Professionals in Educational Leadership

  • Establish and support vision. School leaders engage the school community in developing and maintaining a student-centered vision for education, which forms the basis for school goals and guides the preparation of students as effective, lifelong learners in a pluralistic society.
  • Support effective teaching and learning. School leaders use knowledge of teaching and learning in working collaboratively with the faculty and staff to implement effective and innovative practices, which engage students in meaningful and challenging learning experiences.
  • Manage the school environment. School leaders promote the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe and orderly learning environment.
  • Improve school and system practice. School leaders work with the school community to review data from multiple sources to establish challenging standards, monitor progress, and foster the continuous growth of all students.
  • Implement professional development. School leaders work collaboratively with the school faculty and staff to plan and implement professional development activities that promote both individual and organizational growth and lead to improved teaching and learning.
  • Build school and community relations. School leaders use an understanding of the culture of the community to create and sustain mutually supportive school-community relations.
  • Align practice with ethical standards. School leaders demonstrate honesty, integrity, and fairness to guide school programs in an ethical manner.

Roles and Responsibilities of Professionals in Counselor Education

  • Design, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs. Counselors develop effective and comprehensive programs, which incorporate an awareness of various systems that affect students, school, and home.
  • Advocate for children, services, and supports. Counselors are effective advocates for students, families, and school communities.
  • Provide individual, group, and family counseling. Counselors promote school success as measured by the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students.
  • Offer career and academic guidance. Counselors utilize developmental approaches to assist all students and parents at points of educational transition for all students.
  • Collaborate to support group practice. Counselors link multiple stakeholders in the school and community to effect positive change using strategies that are grounded in the interaction of practice and theory.
  • Consult with teachers and parents/legal guardians. Counselors act as a resource regarding a variety of issues that pertain to the developmental needs of all students.

Shared Vision

Programs of study are performance-based and go beyond simply aligning specific competencies with specific courses. We support our candidates through community partnerships and merging course content with authentic practice. This model ensures that our teachers, school leaders, and counselors can produce effective outcomes for their students and school leaders for the schools in which they work.

Role focused: Our programs focus on the roles of effective teachers, leaders, and counselors as explained in the Conceptual Framework. The faculty models for candidates the roles and responsibilities expected of them.

Sequenced field activities and clinical practice: Our programs of study include well-crafted field experiences and clinical practice that offer targeted preparation in schools. Complexity increases as candidates progress through our programs.

Authentic Evaluation: Our programs use a professional portfolio as the key tool for evaluating effectiveness and content mastery. Portfolio review takes place at distinct points during the program of study in order to identify both professional strengths and areas of need.

Collaborative Induction: Our programs align with the requirements of the accrediting agencies and are designed to support beginning professionals’ transition to the workplace.

Program Coherence

Our Conceptual Framework provides the basis for coherence in our programs. We continually review our programs to align course work, field experiences, clinical practice and assessments with best practices in theory and research. Our programs are specifically aligned with national and state standards.

The Teacher Education Council, Course Content and Field Experiences Committee, Candidate Assessment and Program Evaluation Committee, and the faculty as a whole hold regular meetings to ensure that course content, field experiences, clinical practice, and candidate assessment activities are coherent and consistent with the Conceptual Framework of the unit. Faculty members have also developed course syllabi to reflect alignment with the Conceptual Framework. Program Coordinators support collaborative efforts among faculty members to ensure that course content, field experiences, clinical practice, and candidate assessment activities are designed and implemented in a coherent manner.

Professional Commitments and Dispositions

Becoming Reflective Practitioners requires candidates to demonstrate the professional commitments and dispositions of effective educators. Our Conceptual Framework is grounded in the importance of developing a professional commitment to improving educational outcomes for students and schools. The initial and advanced programs focus on ensuring that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to create a positive impact on students, schools, and communities. The role framework included in the Conceptual Framework for each school career area supports candidates in developing their professional commitment to improved practice.

A second demonstration of professional commitments is represented in the work of the faculty to redesign the initial teacher education program and the advanced teacher education and school leadership programs to reflect a performance-based model. Each program has been revised to ensure that candidates meet unit, state, Common Core, and national standards associated with effective education.

The UNO program of study supports key dispositions for candidates developed concurrently with the redesign of programs and the development of the unit assessment system.

The Professional Dispositions of Teacher Candidates:

  • Teachers believe in, value and commit to equity and advocacy.
  • Teachers believe in, value and commit to professionalism and effective communication.
  • Teachers believe in, value and commit to constant improvement.
  • Teachers believe in, value and commit to collaboration.
  • Teachers believe in, value and commit to flexibility and perseverance.

The program of study is designed based on the premise that teacher candidates develop their professional dispositions over time. This development is facilitated by new knowledge gained in coursework as well as new experiences gained via the field assignments associated with coursework and practice. The design of the dispositions assessment tool reflects a developmental model with reviews occurring at multiple points in the program. Teacher candidates, program coordinators, college coordinators, and mentoring teachers assess professional dispositions to determine each candidate’s readiness for the profession.

The Dispositions of Educational Leaders:

  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to a vision of education.
  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to learning excellence.
  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to quality organizational planning.
  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to ongoing school improvement.
  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to professional development.
  • School leaders believe in and value fostering school-community relations.
  • School leaders believe in, value, and commit to professional ethics.

The Dispositions of Counselors:

  • Counselors demonstrate a willingness to engage in professional interactions with persons from diverse cultures.
  • Counselors demonstrate an ability to share knowledge and resources with others and provide feedback in an appropriate manner.
  • Counselors recognize the limits of power in a counseling relationship.
  • Counselors convey an interest in the welfare of others.
  • Counselors demonstrate a willingness to address personal prejudices and biases.
  • Counselors address issues of conflict in appropriate ways and recognize that conflict may be an area of growth.
  • Counselors demonstrate a willingness to respect viewpoints, which differ from his/her own.
  • Counselors maintain a balance in life and are alert to signs of stress.
  • Counselors recognize the causal link between personal behavior and consequences.
  • Counselors maintain client/colleague/peer confidentiality as defined by the ACA Code of Ethics.

Commitment to Diversity

The unit's commitment to diversity is expressed by interweaving principles of diversity throughout the conceptual framework. The concept of diversity guides course content, placement for field experiences, clinical practice, and candidate assessment. The program of study develops competencies of the candidates to assess learning styles of PK-12 students, use various strategies to deliver instruction, incorporate multicultural materials into instruction, and use multiple strategies to assess PK-12 student performance. All programs of study cover content and experiences related to diversity. The redesigned undergraduate and MAT programs include coursework required to gain an additional teaching certificate in both general and special education.

Our commitment to diversity is demonstrated by membership of the faculty of the COEHD and the population of candidates enrolled in its programs of study. Indeed, our location in New Orleans provides multiple opportunities to ensure that candidates expand their knowledge of multiple cultures and demonstrates their ability to create a positive learning impact for PK-12 students from diverse backgrounds.

Commitment to Social Justice

The COEHD supports the premise that all candidates should possess the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to interact effectively with all children and adults without discrimination based on race, class, gender, disability/exceptionality, sexual orientation, and language. Faculty and community partners work together to acknowledge the achievement gap and work diligently and intentionally to prepare candidates who are caring, well prepared, and qualified. The commitment to social justice is supported by the professional dispositions related to equity and advocacy. Faculty and others in the professional community have opportunities to assess candidates to ensure they demonstrate the professional dispositions, including value and respect for individual differences and the premise that all students can learn.

Commitment to Technology

Technology is threaded across: 1) course content, 2) field experiences and clinical practice completed by candidates, and 3) the unit assessment system to ensure the unit’s commitment to technology.

As initial candidates progress through their respective programs of study, they apply technology in three ways: 1) personal use of technology, 2) use of technology to support instruction, and 3) use of technology to manage classroom and school operations. Candidates learn to become informed consumers of web-based information, to utilize technology in the design and delivery of instruction, to communicate with faculty and students using technology, and to use technology to track student and school performance. Most candidates utilize Moodle technology within coursework and build electronic professional portfolios using Live Text.

Candidate Proficiencies Aligned with Professional, Common Core, COMPASS, and State Standards

Throughout the continual process of refining our programs, faculty members have paid particular attention to align the UNO school career programs with the Common Core curriculum, professional standards, and state standards. The roles and responsibilities included in the conceptual framework derived from a process that aligned with the Common Core Standards, Common Core State Standards, the Louisiana State COMPASS Teacher Evaluation System, and Danielson’s Framework for Teaching.

Initial program coursework, field work, and candidate assessment activities were aligned with the Common Core, the standards of the appropriate SPAs, and the conceptual framework to fully incorporate assessment, classroom practices, technology and social justice. Advanced program coursework, field work, and candidate assessment activities were aligned with the standards of the appropriate SPA, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), Common Core Standards, Common Core State Standards, the Louisiana State COMPASS Teacher Evaluation System, and Danielson’s Framework for Teaching.

The unit assessment system and the various program assessment components, including work samples, field activities, and performance assessments, document candidate attainment of professional standards as expressed by the unit, the state, and national professional organizations.

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