Conceptual Framework

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Our Core Commitment: Connecting teaching and learning requires a team of professionals working through states of development, resting upon core values and principles. First, our goal as teacher educators is to assure our teaching efforts result in deep, meaningful learning on the part of our teacher candidates. Second, the teaching actions of our candidates should result in deep, meaningful learning on the part of P-12 students.

Foundational Values (Outer Ring)

Educational Equity

Our educational programs value and model the inalienable human right of educational equity. We believe in ethical commitments to access, fairness, justice, and opportunity for all. We strive to eliminate barriers in ways that support access and contribute to connecting teaching and learning.

Intellectual Vitality

Our educator programs value and model a rich, intellectual community focused on inquiry, excellence, adaptability, and continuous improvement. We seek to understand our practices and capacities and demonstrate a willingness to grow in ways that contribute to connecting teaching and learning.


Our educator programs value and model a rich sense of professionalism including the development of leadership capacities, professional engagement, and lifelong learning. We are committed to modeling, mentoring, and demonstrating a commitment to these values in ways that support connecting teaching and learning.

Cultural Sensitivity

Our educator programs value and model the broadest range of diversity and human identity. We believe strength and wisdom are found through seeking multiple perspectives, actively pursuing a diverse culture, and expanding our individual capacities for compassion, situational awareness, and self-knowledge in ways that support connecting teaching and learning.

States of Development (Inner Ring)


After establishing appropriate readiness through awareness activities, candidates must build deep, flexible understandings of key concepts, theories, routines, and skills necessary to connect teaching and learning (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Woolfolk, 2001). Methods courses and early student teaching experiences are commonly designed to help students build understanding.


Building on current knowledge about how learning occurs, candidates must first become aware and confront problems, issues, or concepts, including their own naive conceptions, before moving on to more sophisticated understandings (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Portes, 1996; Smith, diSessa & Rochelle, 1993; Strike & Posner, 1985). Foundations courses and early field experiences are common settings in which awareness building is likely the goal as candidates move toward the goal of connecting teaching and learning.


Commonly pursued concurrently with understanding goals, application requires candidates demonstrate what they know, and are able to do, in authentic settings (Anderson, Reder & Simon, 1996; Lave & Wagner, 1991; Resnick, 1987). Through the work sample process and student teaching experiences, candidates demonstrate the application of skills necessary to effectively connect their teaching to P-12 student learning.


Ultimately, our efforts in teacher preparation should result in candidates’ long-term commitment to the goal of connecting teaching and learning (Freeman, 1991; Kennedy, 1999). Capstone and other summative program experiences should adopt commitment as one key goal.



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