Conceptual Framework: Teacher Education Goals and Standards

Students and faculty in Ithaca College teacher education programs participate in an active learning community that emphasizes scholarship, teaching, and service. The teacher education community fosters the acquisition and integration of liberal arts and professional knowledge through disciplined study, critical thinking, research, and inquiry (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005). This knowledge, extended and refined by experience, develops teaching competence, which, when exercised democratically in service to others, develops teachers who are informed by a commitment to work effectively with and for all students, their families, and communities (Ogulnick, 2000). Teacher education at Ithaca College thus reflects the institution’s longstanding vision and commitment to excellence by valuing praxis—that is, the combination of theory and performance (Freire, 1993)—and by nurturing the development of knowledge, competence, and commitment to service. As a result, Ithaca College teacher education graduates possess a passion for lifelong learning, a desire and ability to ignite this passion in others, and a commitment to exercise this ability in democratic, culturally responsive teaching and service to others through work with diverse students, families, and communities.

This philosophy is summarized in the Unit’s Conceptual Framework, a set of goals and standards that the All-College Teacher Education Committee affirmed in 2005 (rev. 2007).

Three Goals of the Conceptual Framework

Knowledge. Ithaca College teacher education candidates will, through rigorous and disciplined study in the liberal arts and professional programs, meet or exceed the New York State learning standards and the New York State Regents requirements regarding content and pedagogical knowledge in their respective areas of certification and meet or exceed the eight common program standards that cross all Ithaca College teacher education programs.

Competence. Ithaca College teacher education candidates will develop competence in their respective fields by taking their content and pedagogical knowledge into a variety of local and regional public and private schools where, in carefully planned and supervised field experiences, they will gain confidence in their own teaching and learning; learn to work collaboratively in classrooms, schools, and communities; learn to work effectively with the diversity of their students, their students’ families, and communities; learn to reflect critically and systematically on their own teaching practice in order to improve it; learn to put their students at the center of the learning process while maintaining standards of excellence; and learn to value professional development and lifelong learning.

Commitment to Service. Ithaca College teacher education candidates will further develop their newly acquired knowledge, competence, and leadership skills by engaging in critically reflective practice; demonstrating, in their practice, a deep commitment to equity and accountability; and modeling initiative and advocacy. Teacher education candidates will develop the skills to build relationships with communities to support students’ learning.

These three goals are embedded in the eight Ithaca College Teacher Education Program Standards (TEPS). These standards were developed in a collaborative process that incorporated input from representatives from each teacher education program, who identified how their courses of study addressed the three goals of the conceptual framework. This process insured that the standards reflect the shared values and expectations of IC’s professional education faculty and stakeholders. The standards have also been aligned with the New York State Teaching Standards, the Specialized Professional Association Standards, and the NCATE Standards to enable the Unit to assess the readiness of every teacher education candidate at Ithaca College (See Appendix for the alignment of TEPS with NYS and specialized association standards and national association standards).

The framework’s shared vision and corresponding standards have guided the unit’s programs, course development, teaching, assessments of candidate performance, scholarship, and program evaluations in all three Schools in which teacher education programs are offered.

Eight Standards of the Conceptual Framework

1. Content Knowledge: Ithaca College teaching professionals demonstrate a rich, thorough understanding of the content and skill knowledge, theories, and issues comprising their disciplines.

2. Planning and Instruction/Implementation: Ithaca College teaching professionals are able to plan and implement effective, developmentally appropriate lessons and curricula based upon sound principles of content knowledge and skill development.

3. Positive Learning Environment: Ithaca College teaching professionals create safe and motivational learning environments that encourage all students to become actively involved.

4. Diversity: Ithaca College teaching professionals respect and possess knowledge of diversity in its many forms and know how to use this competence to develop relationships, instruction, schools, classrooms, communities, and experiences that help all students achieve their fullest potential and function effectively and respectfully in a diverse world.

5. Technology: Ithaca College teaching professionals are able to effectively utilize technology to enhance student learning and professional growth and development.

6. Assessment: Ithaca College teaching professionals demonstrate the ability to develop and utilize a variety of assessment tools and techniques designed to evaluate student learning and performance, provide feedback, and shape future lesson planning, programs, and curricula.

7. Collaboration and Outreach: Ithaca College teaching professionals foster positive relationships with a variety of target groups (e.g., students, families, colleagues, local community members, etc.) in order to promote and enhance the teaching and learning environment.

8. Professional Development: Ithaca College teaching professionals engage in reflective practice and continually seek to improve their knowledge base and effectiveness as teachers, make positive contributions to the culture of their fields, and demonstrate the dispositions of an emerging professional.