In subdividing candidates’ experiences into programming areas, we have identified seven Knowledge Arenas (Conceptual Framework, Area C) for our curriculum. Candidates access material in the following domains:
- Subject matter (C-1) refers to the philosophies, sources, concepts, current understandings, and methods of inquiry that make up a discipline.
- Pedagogy (C-2) refers to the set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to the facilitation of learning. While pedagogy is related to subject matter, it extends far beyond content to the actions taken by educators (interviewing/assessing, speaking, writing, and questioning) in their professional roles.
- Curriculum (C-3) refers to the organizational designs and entities employed by professional educators to demarcate (in the explanatory sense) and publicly explicate a body of subject matter.
- Learner variables (C-4) include the inter- and intra-individual differences that characterize students. A partial list includes cultural background, experience, gender, health, age, language and learning styles; disability status may play a role in one or more of the above learner factors.
- Context (C-5) refers to significant elements of schools, communities, the nation and the world that form the surround or backdrop to teaching and learning.
- Philosophies and perspectives (C-6). Knowledge about the philosophies of education and epistemological approaches allow the candidate to appreciate styles of reasoning and to select models that allow for healthy transformations. Approaches promoted within the unit include humanistic, rationalistic, change-oriented, personalistic, content-centered, social-advocacy based, constructivist, outcome-based, and cognitive.
- Research and inquiry (C-7). Educators employ structured approaches to problem resolution based on existing research traditions, including ecological, ethnographic, action approaches from the qualitative tradition. Candidates learn group and single-subject methods from the logical positivist tradition, including supporting statistical and measurement procedures.
The foundation for knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the unit were constructed by coordinating the culminating aspects of the Conceptual Framework with two sets of nationally recognized standards. The Principles by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) were used for the initial level, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Propositions used at the advanced level. The unit also developed diversity proficiencies and dispositions based on the conceptual framework and the national standards. To better understand the goals of the unit (and later the alignment between goals and assessments), it is important to be clear to our candidates about what we expect of them when they complete programs. This is best illustrated via the Conceptual Framework’s Role Performance Expectations (Subdivisions A-1 to A-7):
- Content transformer (A-1). Candidates continuously evaluate and modify pedagogy and instruction in light of their lived experiences, technology, and newly acquired information.
- The Inclusive Educator (A-2) effectively considers diversity in the design, delivery, and development of learning.
- Humanistic educator (A-3). Candidates display the disposition to deeply value all persons, thus treating them equitably—evidencing a regard and appreciation for the worth and dignity of individual human beings.
- The primary transformation implied in the role of Culture Transformer (A-4) is that candidates develop dispositions and a knowledge base allowing them to embrace many cultures and subcultures and that they prove able to transform appropriate aspects of their classroom and school culture(s).
- Researcher (A-5). We expect that candidates will adopt the stance of a systematic enquirer as part of their professional identity.
- Problem solver/Decision maker (A-6). The transformative professional must effectively employ formal and informal data (quantitative and qualitative) in making decisions about curriculum, learning and behavioral outcomes, and planning methods to be employed with the individuals that he or she serves.
- Reflective practitioner (A-7). Personal transformation requires deep and continual reflection. The candidate continually participates in healthy self-criticism regarding teaching and learning; in addition, the individual continuously and rigorously re-examines personally held and professionally accepted field-based assumptions.