NCATE Conceptual Framework

Preparing Effective Professional Educators

In this section, a brief overview is provided.  Click on the link above to view the full text document of the Conceptual Framework.

The conceptual framework of the Professional Education Unit at Eastern Kentucky University establishes the shared vision for the unit. This vision supports all aspects of the preparation of professional educators to work effectively in P-12 schools. It provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service, and unit accountability. The conceptual framework is knowledge-based, articulated, shared, coherent, consistent with the unit and/or institutional mission, and continuously evaluated. Additionally, it:

  • is the guiding structure of the unit,
  • is infused throughout the unit,
  • demonstrates the unit’s values and beliefs, and
  • ensures that administrators, faculty, K-12 partners and candidates are working toward the same articulated goals, and ensures that these goals encourage professionally sound commitments and dispositions.

Mission Statement

Preparing Effective Professional Educators*

The most important element in fostering meaningful learning is an effective professional educator. We define that person as a unique amalgam of at least five elements: strong dynamic understanding of content, significant pedagogical skills, and dispositions that foster growth and learning in others, broad skills in technology and an acknowledgement of the proposition that ALL Children, whatever their diverse background, can learn.

Our mission is: To “Prepare Effective Professional Educators” while enhancing the proficiencies of our candidates in the areas of Knowledge, Pedagogy, Dispositions, Technology and Diversity. We expect our colleagues to be absolutely committed to individualized teaching and learning. We are “a school of opportunity,” and we emphasize giving each individual student opportunities to move from where he or she is to where he or she needs and wants to be.

Our plan is to build a “seamless model” for recruiting, educating, retaining, and renewing Kentucky’s educators and create a site for developing the next generation of educator preparation programs founded upon collaboration among all education stakeholders. We expect all of our colleagues to be active scholars. This means staying current in professional fields via participation in state, regional and national professional organizations and being actively involved in the creation of new knowledge that strengthens teaching and enhances our professions.

Our operational philosophy is based on cooperation, trust, and interdependence among faculty, staff, administrators, P-12 and helping-profession partners, and students. We are building a vibrant learning community whose members respect, depend upon, and cooperate with one another. This system allows us to make decisions effectively and inclusively promote the mission.

*Professional Educators include Teachers, Counselors and Administrators

Vision for the Future

The vision for the College of Education (COE) is aligned with the Eastern Kentucky University‘s mission and strategic plan to enhance regional stewardship, improve candidate success, and implement our quality enhancement plan. In the area of regional stewardship, the COE is developing a Center of Educational Research in Appalachia to help schools and communities in our region improve jointly and simultaneously. The Center is employing Educational Extension Agents to improve collaborative efforts within the twenty-two counties in our service region on educational, medical, and economic development initiatives. To improve candidate success, we have looked at the data and are planning to imbed Kentucky Common Core Standards in our teacher education curriculum, raise admission requirements, and create a yearlong internship. As part of our quality enhancement plan, we are creating candidate learning outcomes and assessments to help our graduates think and write critically and creatively.

Institutional and Unit Philosophy, Purpose, and Goals:

Eastern Kentucky University is a student-centered, comprehensive public university dedicated to high-quality instruction, scholarship, and service. Eastern Kentucky University's Professional Education Programs support this institutional mission and the college mission by continuing to focus on the vision that the programs prepare effective professional educators contributing to the growth of our diverse society. The mission and vision are based on an extensive body of research exploring the characteristics of effective helping professionals. At Eastern, candidates are provided opportunity to acquire both depth and breadth in knowledge of subject matter; to study and practice the skills of teaching; to reflect upon personal abilities, interests, and dispositions as they relate to helping diverse populations learn and grow; and to develop skills in the use of technology in learning.

The effective educator is perceived as one who is able to integrate content and skills with personal dispositions in order to help all students learn and develop. The primary goal of the professional education programs is to help pre- and in-service educators become more effective people contributing to the growth of our diverse society.

The five major elements of the EKU Professional Education Conceptual Framework, Knowledge, Pedagogical Skills, Dispositions, Technology, and Diversity,are based upon and are aligned with Kentucky's Teaching Standards and support the Institutional Goals found in the Strategic Plan of the University, (The teaching standards and institutional goals addressed are indicated under each element) and the institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan theme that states that EKU will develop informed, critical and creative thinkers, who communicate effectively. Candidates progressing through a professional education program at Eastern Kentucky University encounter numerous opportunities for inquiry, analysis, and reflection as they strive to become more effective practitioners.

The candidates’ performances and the overall effectiveness of each program are assessed during regular reviews of candidates’ progress across each element of the conceptual framework. For candidates, this is an on-going process in each course as well as at each gate in their preparation program. For unit programs, this is an annual process.

Knowledge Bases for the Unit

The Knowledge element enables students to construct understanding of the complexity and richness of the learning/teaching process. This element allows students to develop their abilities to explore and use relevant information to gain knowledge, to evaluate information and ideas, to expand and generate ideas, and to take on the leadership position in the classroom, school building and clinical areas by clearly expressing and developing a point of view. This element includes:

  1. General knowledge needed to develop as an educated person, teacher leader, and citizen in a diverse society,
  2. Specific knowledge related to a professional specialty,
  3. Foundational knowledge in professional subjects basic to professional preparation,
  4. Behavioral knowledge needed for understanding of self and others, and
  5. Technological knowledge needed to enhance professional practice.

ThePedagogical Skills element enables the professional educator to facilitate learning. Program experiences for both pre-service and in-service educators address best practices in content-independent and content-specific pedagogical methods. This is accomplished through a variety of in-class, virtual, and field-based experiences involving acquisition of knowledge, application, reflection upon effectiveness, and leadership. Recognizing the vital connection between knowledge, experience and reflection, faculty incorporates these in every program. EKU’s Model Laboratory School, Madison County Schools and diverse educational communities scattered throughout the state provide essential settings for guided field-based experiences for undergraduate and graduate candidates. These experiences allow candidates to apply theory to real-life situations and receive immediate feedback - an essential component of a program utilizing authentic, continuous assessment. The Pedagogical Skills defined above are intended to allow candidates to develop their abilities to evaluate their professional performance and leadership skills to expand, alter, and generate new approaches that enhanced performance.

The Dispositions elementincludes “the professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as candidates interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development” (NCATE). These professional education programs are committed to ensuring that candidates know and demonstrate the dispositions that are critical to success as education professionals. Education candidates are expected to demonstrate: subscription to the belief that ALLchildren can learn; an appreciation for diversity; a commitment to excellent performance in the classroom and in the field; and positive and effective oral and written communication skills. These attitudes and beliefs will be assessed through behaviors and interactions with peers and supervisors within the university classroom, field and clinical experiences, and during student teaching.  This process will facilitate candidates’ professional growth and development as they progress through initial and advanced programs.

TheTechnology element focuses on preparing candidates who are able to use educational technology to help all students learn. A major goal of the education program is to integrate technology throughout teaching and learning, so that pre-service and in-service educators will be prepared to effectively use the technology that awaits them. Research recommends the approach adopted by the EKU professional education programs that coordinates technology integration with the methods courses, extends into the field experiences and permeates the candidates’ programs. This results in candidates, who develop their technological skills to communicate more effectively, to analyze and interpret data, manage and prioritize tasks, and to engage in problem solving, which are critical skills identified by the Educational Testing Service’s International Literacy Panel. Candidates will be able to utilize technology to increase and enhance learning, motivation, personal productivity, and creativity for all students and to develop their abilities to explore, evaluate, expand, and use relevant information to enhance their professional goals and objectives.

The Diversityelement reflects the unit’s commitment to preparing candidates to support learning for ALL students from diverse populations, cultures, and environments regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, physical or learning disabilities, or national origin. The professional education programs at EKU accept the obligation to prepare both pre-service and in-service education professionals to be competent and exercise leadership as they face the challenges of today’s diverse school and societal settings. To further broaden the NCATE definition of diversity, the unit’s programs consider but do not assess each of the sources of cultural identity (race, ethnicity/nationality, social class, sex/gender, health, age, geographic region, religion, social status, language, and ability/disability) that influence teaching and learning. The unit embraces the belief stated by James Banks that “An effective teacher education policy for the 21st century must include as a major focus the education of all teachers... in ways that will help them receive the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to work effectively with students from diverse racial, ethnic, and social class groups.” Candidates will be able to explore and use relevant information about diversity, evaluate that information, and develop their abilities to expand their ideas and clearly articulate a commitment to diversity in their professional practices.

Professional Education Continuous Assessment Plan Overview 

The current Professional Education Continuous Assessment Plan (PECAP) at Eastern Kentucky University was designed to monitor candidates and other professional educators, both initial and advanced, as they progress through their performance-based programs. Monitoring is achieved through ongoing assessment of the content knowledge, pedagogical and other professional knowledge and skills, the use of technology and the dispositions of the candidates throughout their enrollment at EKU and to include behaviors indicating the belief that All children can learn. The expectations of candidates with respect to their content knowledge, pedagogical and technological skills, dispositions, and demonstrated belief in the value of diversity, are based upon the EKU Goals, the Conceptual Framework for Professional Education Programs, the Standards of Accrediting agencies, Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), and the standards approved by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board. This assessment process will ensure that program completers have met all program standards.