Summary: Unit’s Conceptual Framework
THE OHIO WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY teacher education program has been educating teachers for over one hundred years. Grounded in the liberal arts, the program is organized around three themes: Content Knowledge, Teaching and Learning, and Character and Professionalism. These themes are supported by current research and are aligned with state and national accreditation standards, including those developed by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and various nationally recognized professional organizations.
First, we believe that a strong liberal arts focus, coupled with an in-depth understanding of subject matter knowledge, is a vital prerequisite for successful teaching. This knowledge helps teachers conceptualize content so that it is comprehensible and cognitively engaging to all their students. Thus, successful teaching requires a broad, vigorous, and integrated liberal arts education.
However, knowledge of subject matter is not enough. We believe teachers must also possess a thorough knowledge of learners and the learning process. They need to master pedagogical skills and understand human development so they can make complex ideas and concepts accessible to all learners. They must know how to evaluate what they do so they can adjust their teaching to meet the ongoing needs of their students. They learn to value the necessity of developing an instructional context that is supportive and nurturing, yet filled with high expectations for student achievement. The judicious use of technology undergirds this process.
Finally, we believe teachers must be reflective practitioners who are convinced that all students can learn. They believe that the future of our society requires them to embrace a democratic mission founded on multiethnic, multiracial. multinational, and multiecological relationships. They also are confident that they possess the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions to ensure this mission is fulfilled.
In short, the ultimate goal of the Teacher Education Program at Ohio Wesleyan University is to foster learning in all students—pre-kindergarten through undergraduate—that will lead to the creation of informed, critical thinkers who will contribute meaningfully and ethically to our democratic society. To this end, the following are specific proficiencies and dispositions we seek to develop in our candidates for licensure:
We believe that becoming a competent, committed, professional teacher for a diverse, democratic society requires:
1. knowledge of disciplines being taught and the ability to organize, integrate, and convey knowledge so that it is comprehensible to all students.
2. knowledge of human development, motivation, and learning, as well as, the individual and contextual factors that guide one’s ability to develop instruction that is appropriate for all students.
3. knowledge of classroom organization, management, and curriculum, and the ability to design, implement and manage the learning environment in ways that support active student learning and independence.
4. knowledge of a variety of instructional strategies and materials, including technology, that encourage student problem-solving, critical thinking and independent learning, and the ability to select and implement instructional strategies that account for and adapt to all contexts, learners, and content.
5. knowledge of a variety of assessment strategies that are embedded in instruction and the ability to use formative and summative assessments to monitor and evaluate student learning, as well as to inform one’s own teaching.
Additionally, candidates develop the following dispositions that characterize competent, committed, professional teachers for a diverse, democratic society:
6. commitment to teaching as a viable, honorable profession.
7. the importance of fostering collaborative relationships with colleagues, families and the larger community.
8. the importance of affirming one’s efficacy as it relates to student learning.
9. the understanding that the democratic ideals of a multicultural society are foundational to all teaching and learning.
10. the importance of engaging in reflective practice and continuous professional development.