The School of Education
Teaching for the Next Generation
C. 1. How does the unit's conceptual framework address the following structural elements?
- the vision and mission of the unit
- philosophy, purposes, goals, and institutional standards of the unit
- knowledge bases, including theories, research, the wisdom of practice, and educational policies that drive the work of the unit
- candidate proficiencies related to expected knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions, including proficiencies associated with diversity and technology, that are aligned with the expectations in professional, state, and institutional standards
- summarized description of the unit's assessment system
Our conceptual framework, The Teacher as Facilitator, Decision-maker and Educational Leader, describes the vision and purpose for our programs for the preparation of professional educators, and is based on a knowledge base derived from empirical research, disciplined inquiry, informed theory, and the wisdom of practice. The School of Education's mission and program model represent the components, intent, and structural flow of the teacher education programs at North Georgia College & State University. The programs are under-girded by the University's mission, the School of Education's philosophy of education, and its metacognitive model. It is the intent of the School of Education to prepare teachers who are facilitators, decision-makers and educational leaders for student learning. The mission of North Georgia College & State University is set forth in its Mission Statement and elaborated in its Strategic Plans and Goals Statements. This Mission Statement articulates the fundamental and complementary purposes of the University. It identifies the primary academic focuses for the university's actions and programs. From this mission statement, which is subject to annual review and endorsement by the University's Administrative Council and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the professional education unit derives its own mission statement and program outcomes.
Mission of the School of Education
The mission of the School of Education is to (1) develop new teacher leaders and agency specialists; (2) provide continuing professional learning and (3) to collaborate with our colleagues in K-12 schools and agencies, ensuring that the citizens in the north Georgia area have the best educational opportunities possible.
The Teacher Education Department prepares teachers for 21st Century classrooms. These are teachers who can develop the cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor domains of students in an effective and inclusive manner, make informed choices, and assume leadership - first in culturally and academic diverse classrooms and then within the professional community. The mission of the Teacher Education Program is to prepare teachers who have a metacognitive perspective for the accomplishment of their roles as facilitators of instruction, decision-makers, and as leaders in their learning communities. The mission includes the preparation of teachers who are prepared to be role models for the educated persons they seek to produce and to educate citizens to function in and contribute to a free society at the local, state, national and international levels.
The Department of Health and Physical Education prepares Health, Physical Education, and Athletic Training Education professionals for employment and advanced study. In addition, the Department's educational and service programs are structured to address community and professional needs.
Consciousness of the roles of teachers as Facilitators, Decision-Makers and Leaders provides the conceptual foundation for NGCSU School of Education programs, courses, teaching, evaluation of candidate performance, scholarship, service and unit accountability. Consistent with our vision and mission, the continual assessment of our framework entails on-going reflection on our philosophy of learning and teaching. These discussions occur within the School of Education, individual programs as well as the university, but also engage our P-12 partners in public schools. The Metacognitive Model conceptual framework comprises a standards-driven, assessment informed, learner centered, collaborative approach through which teachers and other school leaders develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be highly effective in the profession. The framework of the Metacognitive Model supports dynamic interaction among the professional roles of Facilitator, Decision-Maker and Leader and across the critical processes of planning, monitoring and assessment.
Traditionally, the role of the teacher has included the facilitation of learning. The facilitator (teacher) is responsible for structuring the learning environment in such a way as to enable effective and efficient learning to occur. As a Facilitator in the teacher education program students will increase their competencies in these four areas: Subject Matter Knowledge, Individual Differences of Students, Communications, including technology, and Classroom Management.
In addition, the teacher must have a knowledge base related to curriculum, methods, trends, issues, and assessment as well as a repertoire of workable principles by which appropriate curricular and classroom management decisions can be made. As a Decision-Maker in the teacher education program students will increase their competence in these four areas: Assessment, Planning, Problem-Solving, and Instructional Methods, Materials, and Resources. Planning is initially learned in the first term in the Classroom Management course and continues as a thread in all field based and classroom based performance activities, lessons and units. Problem solving is embedded in case studies and common field based performance evaluations for each course.
Finally, in an educational setting where opportunities for "teacher empowerment" are increasing, the teacher must be prepared to assume a variety of leadership roles during his or her career. This concept of leadership is multifaceted and part of the mission statement for the University, in that North Georgia graduates are expected to be prepared to undertake leadership roles in their profession and within their community. As a Leader students will increase their competence in these four areas: Ethical Perspectives, Metacognition, Professional Leadership, and Research and Evaluation.
Prior to admission into the NGCSU School of Education students complete three courses in Area F that involve introduction to professional standards and ethical practice, including the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Code of Ethics.
Throughout the program the metacognitive aspects of teaching practice are emphasized. Through frequent elicitation of reflection on their beliefs and practices, self –evaluation and analysis teacher candidates are supported in their development as facilitators, decision makers and leaders. Evidence of teacher candidate reflective practices can be found in program based portfolios and in the Teacher Work Sample.
We believe that our conceptual framework must undergo continual review and revision. Moreover, because each of the key roles and processes of our conceptual framework informs and defines the others, the conceptual framework requires on-going evaluation and refinement. In setting standards for what educators should know and do, through rethinking our learning processes in relation to standards, and by engaging in assessment of the outcomes, a learning community in which targeted knowledge, skills and dispositions is modeled for candidates. The Metacognitive Model delineates the proficiencies expected of candidates through preparation programs. The outcomes for initial preparation of professionals mirror the ten standards developed by INTASC (2011) and include content knowledge and application, understanding student development and individual differences, assessment, planning, problem solving for effective instruction, professional leadership and development, ethical practice, collaboration, and reflection. Since 2008, revision of the conceptual framework has founded the development of professional portfolios as a vehicle for assessing and analyzing candidate's understanding and skills in relation to disciplinary standards. As NGCSU moves forward into more intensive Professional Development School (PDS) models, the Metacognitive Model is framing the development of common expectations and shared vision with our public school partners.
C. 2. What changes have been made to the conceptual framework since the last visit?
The faculty has reviewed the conceptual framework and continues to embrace the model as a foundation supporting all teacher and administrator preparation programs. Understanding the roles of school personnel as decision-makers, facilitators and leaders continues to be valuable in a context of heightened focus on the accountability of teachers, administrators and teacher preparation faculty. The role of decision maker includes indicators in assessment, planning, problem-solving and Materials/methods. After analyzing data from the teacher work sample and feedback from graduates and employers, NGCSU teacher preparation programs have revisited program schedules to ensure candidates have access to August experiences and team meetings in schools. This programmatic shift is helping to improve candidate understanding of teacher’s thinking about how student assessment information is utilized in directing planning and instruction. In many field situations, candidates are being encouraged to participate in the RTI process, improving their abilities to understand multiple approaches to content instruction that supports the needs of diverse learners. The rapid increase in Hispanic populations in the area since the last review has provided rich opportunities for candidates to reflect on cultural, language and socioeconomic differences as it relates to facilitation of instruction. Structuring clinical experiences to have greater length and depth also supports the “facilitator’ role development in subject matter knowledge, communication, individual differences and classroom management. Additionally, movement to more intensive professional development school relationships has provided more opportunities for candidate development of leadership skills including understanding complex ethical issues, reflection on their practices and those observed in the schools, participating on collaborative teams and assisting schools in solving problems through research and data collection.
As Professional Development Community partnerships are being elaborated and explored with P-12 partners, discussions always lead back to professional standards and how they might be addressed in the context of authentic work in the schools. Those discussions have led to programmatic scheduling changes as well as curricular changes. One of the vehicles for supporting the themes of the conceptual framework has been the movement to utilization of professional portfolios as a critical component of the assessment system. The portfolios are serving as a framework for ensuring that as candidates are expected to take responsibility of meeting the needs of P-12 students in clinical experiences, they are also addressing state and national standards in a thoughtful manner. NGCSU initial preparation programs have successfully been utilizing professional portfolios for two to three years. The Early Childhood M.Ed. and Leadership Ed.S. have also successfully implemented utilization of professional portfolios. Difficulties in cohort scheduling for the Middle Grades and P-12/secondary M. Ed. have thwarted consistent collection of portfolio data for those programs, but changes to program sequence should yield data by spring of 2012.
C.3. (First Visits Only) How was the conceptual framework developed and who was involved in its development?
Development of Conceptual Framework (Metacognitive Model) presentation