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 ten 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.

The values and commitments found in our Conceptual Framework are embedded in the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards, which were adopted by Ithaca College Teacher Education in April 2015.[1] These ten standards, aligned with the New York State Teaching Standards, ensure that our goals of Knowledge, Competence, and Commitment to Service are attained. Our standards reflect the shared values and expectations of our teacher education faculty and stakeholders and are used to assess the readiness of every teacher education candidate at Ithaca College

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.

Ten Standards of the Conceptual Framework

Standard #1: Learner Development

The 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.

Standard #2: Learning Differences

The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

Standard #3: Learning Environments

The 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.

Standard #4: Content Knowledge

The 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.

Standard #5: Application of Content

The 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.

Standard #6: Assessment

The 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.

Standard #7: Planning for Instruction

The 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.

Standard #8: Instructional Strategies

The 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.

Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

The 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.

Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration

The 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.

[1] Council of Chief State School Officers. (2011). InTASC model core teaching standards. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Publications/InTASC_Standards_At_a_Glance_2011.html