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Conceptual Framework Pillars for Initial Certification


Conceptual Framework Pillars for Initial Certification

INTASC’s approach to creating standards is based on a holistic conception of career development for teaching professionals. It aims not only to “describe rigorous expectations for beginning teachers, but also to lay out the elements for competent entry-level practice in a way that ensures consistency with emerging visions of accomplished teaching” (Ambach, 1996). In that way, the standards describe goals toward which teachers can work throughout their careers to achieve excellence in their profession. These INTASC standards provide the foundation for our initial program in professional educator preparation.

The GC Faculty of Educator Preparation has chosen the phrase Educators as Architects of Change to be the conceptual framework for the professional experience offered by this institution. This framework is constructed upon a professional knowledge base which focuses on the following four core concepts: I) Foundation in Liberal Arts, II) Foundation in Professional Preparation, III) Foundation for Addressing Human Relations and Diversity Issues, and IV) Development of Dynamic Leadership Abilities.

I. FOUNDATION IN LIBERAL ARTS

The GC Professional Education Program, fulfilling the university’s liberal arts mission, will build upon a strong liberal arts curriculum. The collaboration among Faculty of Educator Preparation, comprised of faculty from Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, and Education, ensures success of the Professional Education programs. Students stand to benefit from such collaboration as they will take into the classroom an understanding of various academic disciplines and of the ways that different areas of knowledge interact. They will be familiar with the different ways of knowing so that they can think analytically, synthetically, creatively, and systemically and encourage these processes in their students. They will develop the art of creative inquiry to be able to identify problems and seek effective, creative solutions. They will learn to evaluate their own thought processes, understand their own assumptions, and practice introspection in order to develop a sense of inner values. A liberal arts curriculum is designed to broaden students’ perspectives on the world around them. With this foundation, students in the GC Professional Education Programs will gain the capacity to balance all elements of education as they move from awareness to understanding to action in their classrooms and communities.

II. FOUNDATION IN PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

Building on the cornerstone of liberal arts, the GC Professional Education Program will strive to create a balance between pedagogy and subject matter. GC Faculty of Educator Preparation relies on the rich mutual relationships with its Partner Schools and Professional Development Schools to ensure the achievement of this balance. It is in the professional program that students will engage in “the upward spiral of learning to teach, with all the pain, confusion, regression, joy, and integration embedded in the process (Hollingsworth, 1992, p. 374).[c1] ” Professional education students will immerse themselves in intensive, field-based courses designed to facilitate high levels of professional development. Within this process, students will create their own philosophies of education and the tools needed to develop the skills of their profession. They will gain knowledge about educational and community resources, laws and public policy pertaining to education, and basic content matter in educational disciplines. Students will become knowledgeable about classroom management skills, teaching strategies, and professional ethics. They will learn how to acquire information sources and to integrate technology into the curriculum to enhance the learning experiences of all children.

Students will not only be challenged to have a strong foundation in major content and pedagogical areas; they will also be invited to learn how to connect theory and practice by applying research in the classroom. Students will learn how to make connections between areas of knowledge and ways of living. The ability to make global connections will enable GC graduates to be architects of change within the education system and in the greater community.

III. FOUNDATION FOR ADDRESSING HUMAN RELATIONS AND DIVERSITY ISSUES

Building upon their strong liberal arts and professional/pedagogical base, students in the GC Professional Education Programs will be encouraged to construct a well-grounded framework for appropriately addressing human relations and diversity issues in schools. They will be exposed to theory and practice that foster the belief that all pupils can learn and should be treated as individuals with unique and various needs, skills, talents, interests, histories, and beliefs. They will learn to design inclusive, culturally sensitive, and relevant learning experiences and to create learning communities in which diverse people are respected and appreciated, and in which academic achievement, positive intergroup relations, and critical consciousness are expected.

IV. DEVELOPMENT OF DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP ABILITIES

By modeling successful teaching, questioning assumptions, and posing challenging problems, instructors in the GC Professional Education Programs will encourage students to construct their own understanding of education. Thus, students will feel empowered to continue learning throughout life, to be flexible in adapting to difficulties, to imagine creative solutions, to communicate effectively, and to take necessary risks in meeting future needs. Based on these concepts, the professional preparation program will create empowered educational leaders who have the ability to cultivate partnerships within the schools and community, while collaborating with others to creatively solve problems and make decisions about the current educational climate and future trends in education. They will be architects of change who are prepared and eager to meet the challenges that await them.

                   The Initial Educator Preparation Program

Incorporated throughout the professional preparation program will be an emphasis on the development of leadership qualities. The qualities of risk-taking and effective communication will be stressed in the undergraduate program. Educators must enter the classroom prepared to deal with any situation, and they must be able to communicate clearly and accurately with the students, parents and colleagues in their schools. The goal of the professional preparation program is to produce dynamic leaders who will become advocates for education and architects of change in their communities.

The initial educator preparation program at GC centers on the preparation of educators to be ready to accept the challenges that await them in their first professional experience. This is accomplished through solid foundations in the following areas which are associated with the four core concepts.

1.  A strong liberal arts knowledge base

The mission of GC is to provide a strong foundation in liberal arts. All individuals accepted into the GC Professional Education Programs will enter with a foundation in interdisciplinary understanding, aesthetic appreciation, and the ability to assimilate knowledge through analysis of information and creative inquiry. 

2.  Field experience

Upon admission to the GC Professional Education Programs, students will immediately embark on a journey of field-based experiences. Classes will incorporate field-based assignments within diverse schools. Students will be guided through their classroom experiences by experienced educators working in collaboration with GC's Partnership Program with P-12 schools. Through field experiences, students will develop a sense of empowerment that will allow them to enter their first classroom with confidence that they can make a difference in the lives of their students. 

3.  Sensitivity to Diversity

All components of the professional preparation program will assert the creation of an environment of respect and rapport where all students are valued for their individual differences as reflected in the professional education student’s instructional and assessment practices. Beginning educators who enter the profession as architects of change will know that the power to change society’s sensitivity to diversity will start in their own classroom. 

4.  Integration of Knowledge to the Teaching Experience

It is not enough for educators to have in-depth knowledge of a subject; the art of teaching is being able to engage students in learning by using the pedagogical techniques particular to different disciplines. Through the innovative use of technology and their engagement with the wide range of human diverse experiences, beginning educators-as-architects of change will inspire the achievement of all students. The professional preparation program will guide students in learning how to make connections between content and other disciplines and to develop skills, which reflect current research in pedagogical practices. 

5.  Evaluation and Reflection

The ability to evaluate and reflect on one’s teaching is the mark of a true professional. Through ongoing professional reflection, students will develop a heightened awareness of their role as architects of change. Students will be evaluated throughout their educational process by experienced educators during their field-based experiences as well as by instructors in the classroom. As reflective practitioners, students will become more attuned to the needs of each learner. They will also be taught to evaluate their own effectiveness in the classroom and to reflect on the extent to which they have achieved their goals and possibilities for alternative approaches. The ongoing professional development and reflection will culminate in a final assessment portfolio which reveals each student’s achievement as a professional educator. 

6.  Professional Preparation

The acceptance of educators as professionals who deserve respect for their knowledge and opinions is dependent on the degree of professionalism exhibited in both educational and community environments. Students will be given a strong foundation in classroom management skills, educational laws, educational technology, resources, and professional ethics, and they will be given opportunities to exercise the use of professional judgment during their field-based experiences. They will leave this program with the understanding that educators who are viewed as professionals will be empowered by their schools and communities to be architects of change. 

7. Dynamic Leadership in the Classroom

Incorporated throughout the professional preparation program will be an emphasis on the development of leadership qualities. The qualities of risk-taking and effective communication will be stressed in the undergraduate program. Educators must enter the classroom prepared to deal with any situation, and they must be able to communicate clearly and accurately with the students, parents and colleagues in their schools. The goal of the professional preparation program is to produce dynamic leaders who will become advocates for education and architects of change in their communities. 

Ambach, G. (1996). Standards for Teachers. Phi Delta Kappan, 78(3), 207-210.

 


 [c1]This citation needs to be provided in the resources at the end.

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