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Conceptual Framework

The acronym TE-PLUS represents the major concepts driving the program: Teacher Education-Professionalism, Leadership, Understanding, and Scholarship. The programs are designed to facilitate excellence in the following areas: 1) teacher as educator, 2) teacher as communicator, 3) teacher as decision-maker, 4) teacher as scholar, 5) teacher as researcher, and 6) teacher as leader. These six areas are explicated as follows.

Teacher as Educator

Professional teachers must understand and effectively apply current pedagogical and subject matter knowledge bases appropriate to their teaching emphases, including the substance and practice of human relations and of learning assessment. They must not only be instructional experts, but also model social behavior and learning processes, motivate students to learn and achieve, and manage school duties and the classroom environment.

Teacher as Communicator

Fundamental to the teacher's role as educator are abilities to communicate. Professional teachers are looked upon as communication models for school and community. Abilities to process information are fundamental to excellence in teaching. Expert teachers, therefore, make particular efforts to learn to comprehend well and respond meaningfully to the complexities of print language; to listen attentively to all speakers; to write and speak effectively to students, peers, and the lay and professional communities; and to master the various tools of communication from spoken language to word processing.

Teacher as Decision-Maker

Critical to the effectiveness of the teacher as educator are opportunities and abilities to make decisions. Professional teachers must make pedagogical and contentive decisions to most effectively and humanely meet the individual and group needs of their students. As professional decision-making carries with it responsibility for the results of those educated judgments, it requires confidence derived from extensive knowledge of content, theory, and practice; understanding of school and community goals; and abilities to create, interpret, and rationally apply the results of the various assessment instruments.

Teacher as Scholar

Quality teaching requires significant knowledge of subject matter and teaching strategies, and the tools for acquiring that knowledge. Professional teachers continuously pursue the depth and breadth of pedagogy and content through such activities as professional reading and writing, professional interactions with peers and others, professional study, and active participation in professional organizations to ensure that their teaching is engaging, dynamic, imaginative, contemporary, functional, and of useful substance to students.

Teacher as Researcher

Quality teaching requires the skill and desire to investigate sources of and solutions to classroom problems. Professional teachers possess informal researching abilities and are motivated to continuously diagnose teaching and learning performance and, on those bases reinforce what supports and remediate what retards movement toward successful educational experiences for their students. They, in collaboration with peers and other professionals as necessary, seek to understand and treat classroom problems through appropriate clinical research techniques and, as a matter of course, find means to share the results of such work within and beyond their immediate school settings.

Teacher as Leader

Professional teachers exercise leadership by everyday performance as model teachers striving for excellence, by sharing scholarship and the results of action research, by performing as master teachers, and by seeking leadership positions within the school, the community at large, and in professional organizations. Professional teachers are committed to the profession and to promulgating excellence in education in the whole complex of settings in which it exists.

As teachers function in these roles, each role helps to strengthen the others, thus reflecting their overlapping nature.