The Teacher as Catalyst Conceptual Framework

The Teacher Education Unit has chosen “Teacher as a Catalyst” metaphor as a unifying theme to define the conceptual framework for the professional education programs at West Liberty University.

I. Vision
The following statement summarizes the vision of the Teacher Education Unit:
West Liberty University Teacher Education graduates will be catalysts for educational change in the 21st century global society. 

II. Mission and Purposes
To further refine that vision, the Unit has adopted the following mission statement:
The mission of the Teacher Education Program at West Liberty University is to prepare principle-centered, self-reflective professional educators who will serve as leaders and catalysts for educational change.

  • The undergraduate teacher education programs seek to prepare competent, effective, entry level professionals who teach, supervise, evaluate, reflect, make informed decisions, effect change, and continue their professional growth and development.
  • The Masters Degree programs seek to provide educators with the opportunity to grow professionally with the goal of becoming master teachers and educational leaders.

III. Goals and Outcomes
The Teacher Education Unit recognizes three broad categories of knowledge that are essential for beginning professional educators. These are General Knowledge, Content Knowledge, and Professional Knowledge. General Knowledge is addressed through the General Studies component of the teacher education program, Content Knowledge is addressed through the Content portion of the teacher education program, and Professional Knowledge is addressed through the Professional Education portion of the teacher education program.

As the organizing structure for the Teacher as a Catalyst professional knowledge base, the Teacher Education Unit created specific Program Goals and Outcomes:

1. Teacher candidates will demonstrate a mastery of content area.
A.  Evidence competency of national content standards.
B.  Evidence competency of national technology standards.
C.  Accurately convey content in teaching.

2. Teacher candidates will positively impact learning outcomes.
A.  Design and implement a variety of formative assessments.
B.  Design and implement a variety of summative assessments.
C.  Make meaningful connections between objectives, instruction, and assessment results.
D.  Use assessment results to inform instruction.

3. Teacher candidates will collaborate with students, parents, community, and colleagues to inspire positive change.
A.  Demonstrate effective communication with families.
B.  Engage in community outreach efforts of the schools.
C.  Participate in projects and initiatives in the greater region/community.
D.  Participate in professional development opportunities on the university, regional, state, national, and/or international levels.

4. Teacher candidates will draw upon current research to design effective instruction within a 21st Century Framework.
A.  Incorporate principles of effective research-based instructional design (Understanding Backward Design and Universal Design for Learning).
B.  Actively engage students in higher level of critical thinking skills.
C.  Evaluate and select appropriate technology and instructional tools based on contextual factors.

5. Teacher candidates will respond to the diverse needs of students.
A.  Apply knowledge of child and adolescent development to instructional design.
B.  Identify the various cultural, socio-economic, and racial differences that may impact student interactions and learning.
C.  Identify the various gender, exceptionality, and language differences that may impact student interactions and learning.

6. Teacher candidates will engage in the development of a positive, student-based classroom environment.
A.  Create a positive classroom discipline plan.
B.  Apply knowledge of various motivation techniques to promote student engagement.
C.  Use effective communication techniques to promote a respectful classroom community.
D.  Reflect upon all aspects of teaching that contribute to a positive, student-based classroom environment.  These aspects include instruction, assessment, classroom management, and student and parent interaction.

7.  Teacher candidates will effectively utilize instructional technology in teaching.
A.  Identify, compare, use, and incorporate a variety of available types of educational technologies.
B.  Infuse technology as an essential component of instructional planning.
C.  Design lessons using appropriate technologies such as interactive whiteboards, personal hand-held responders, and/or other related technologies.

IV. Dispositions
In keeping with its mission, the Teacher Education Program has adopted six categories of professional dispositions for all candidates:

  • Collaboration
  • Honesty/Integrity
  • Respect
  • Values Learning
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Responsibility

V. Dispositions for All Candidates Disposition Sequence for All Program Participants

  • Self-Assessment — Education 100
  • Instructor Assessment — Education 207 (Pre-Admission)
  • Instructor Assessment — Education 301 (Post-Admission)
  • Instructor Assessment — Education 340 Methods and Materials course for Elementary (Block) and Secondary/Comprehensive
  • Cooperating Teacher Assessment — Field I, II, Practicum I, Practicum II Placements, Student Teaching Placements

All candidates in the Education Program will be introduced to dispositions, and each candidate will complete a self-assessment disposition during the Introductory Education course, EDUC 100.  These self-assessments will be completed and stored in the on-line assessment management system, LiveText ®.

In Education 207, Foundations of Education, the course instructor(s) will assess all candidate dispositions using the on-line form.   All program candidates complete EDUC 207 typically during the sophomore year of the program and prior to admission to the Teacher Education program. 

In Education 301, Educational Psychology, the course instructor(s) will assess all candidate dispositions using the online form. All program candidates complete EDUC 301 typically during the junior year of the program and after admission to the Teacher Education program. 

In the Elementary Block/Secondary Block (M&M course until the full implementation of the Secondary Block), the course instructor(s) will assess all candidate dispositions using the online form. All program candidates complete the Block courses prior to student teaching.

Field I, Field II, Practicum I and Practicum II mentor teachers also complete disposition forms assessing teacher candidate dispositions while engage in activities with students.

Any faculty member, instructor, field placement coordinator, or cooperating or supervisory teacher may complete a disposition form for a teacher candidate to document areas of deficiencies or concerns.

All candidates complete two student teaching placements.  The assigned cooperating teacher will complete a disposition for the student teacher.  These dispositions will be conducted via paper-pencil and given to the Teacher Education Unit for electronic transfer into the LiveText ® system.

When a negative disposition is recorded, the course instructor or faculty member who completes the disposition will meet with the candidate to review the disposition and discuss corrective action.  This meeting will be recorded by having the candidate sign the bottom of the printed disposition form.  The Director of the Teacher Education Unit may be invited to participate in the meeting.  The teacher candidate can write a letter of explanation or dissent concerning the negative disposition, and this letter will also be included in the file.

A copy of the negative disposition will placed in the candidate file in the Professional Education Department and a copy will be given to the candidate.  The Director of the Teacher Education Unit will review all negative dispositions, and, at his or his discretion, will convene a meeting with the teacher candidate. A plan of improvement may be written at that meeting to address the deficiencies.

Dispositions will be reviewed at the point of program admission, admission to student teaching, and at the completion of student teaching in preparation for certification. Failure to remediate a noted deficiency(ies) may prevent a teacher candidate from gaining  initial program admission, admission to student teaching or gaining teacher certification. 

Framework for 21st Century Learning
The Framework for 21st century learning is threaded throughout the WLU Teacher Education Program. For more information about the 21st Century Learning Framework, visit the Partnership For 21st Century Learning web site at: http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=254&Itemid=120

Information about 21st Century Learning in West Virginia is available from the “Teach 21” web site at the West Virginia Department of Education: http://wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T)
The NETS-T standards are also included in the WLU Professional Education Program. 
A complete listing of the NETS-T standards is available from the ISTE web site at: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_for_Teachers_2008.htm

Content Standards
Each of the teacher education programs at West Liberty is based on standards published by the Professional Organization that represents that content area. A complete listing of the specialty program association (SPA) standards is available at the web site of the National Council for the Accreditation (NCATE) web site at the following URL: http://www.ncate.org/public/programStandards.asp?ch=4

Praxis II
Although the Praxis II test objectives generally reflect the SPA standards and the West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards, the Teacher Education Unit periodically reviews the program to ensure that they are represented throughout the Teacher Education program. More information about the contents of the Praxis II tests is available on the Educational Testing Service web site at: http://www.ets.org/praxis