The Dedicated Educator: A Conceptual Framework
The unifying concept on which Centenary College of Louisiana bases teacher preparation is the Dedicated Educator. The four essential elements of content knowledge, pedagogy, inquiry, and community support this framework.
The main objective of the Department of Education is to prepare dedicated educators. A dedicated educator is one who commits to the personal and professional development and success of all learners, colleagues, and self. Dedicated educators exhibit the knowledge, skills, and dispositions embedded within the essential elements to effectively promote this development and success.
Effective teachers know and understand the central concepts and structures of the academic discipline they teach. At Centenary, undergraduate teacher education candidates develop a high level of competency in the content areas they will teach through completion of a liberal arts core curriculum and subject-area coursework. Graduate students are expected to demonstrate this high level of competency upon entrance to the teacher education program and to further develop content mastery through coursework in the Education Department. Dedicated educators realize that their mastery of content must be so well-refined that they can turn their attention and energy to the appropriate pedagogical approach to present the material to students.
Effective teachers choose strategies of instruction based upon content, learning goals, and studentsí background knowledge and learning needs. At Centenary, candidates develop highly refined pedagogical skills including oral and written communication skills; technology skills; assessment methods; classroom management strategies; and the ability to select the appropriate strategies to use for different students from different cultures with different learning styles. The Dedicated Educator realizes the value of grounding practice in theory and utilizes the most valid and reliable research available.
Effective teachers engage in purposeful reflection, professional development, collaboration with colleagues, and action to improve education. Centenary teacher education candidates learn to examine ideas and experiences critically, successfully work in diverse groups, connect with professional organizations, plan long term professional goals, and develop leadership skills. Dedicated Educators continually reflect upon what they believe and what they do, engage in professional inquiry and scholarship, and are leaders in their school and community.
Effective teachers create productive learning communities by working with colleagues, parents and caregivers, and community organizations to support the learning and well-being of all students. At Centenary, teacher education candidates learn to build communities that respect diversity and individual differences through service learning, intercultural experiences, and field and clinical experiences. Dedicated educators engage in social justice work to ensure that all students and families receive equal consideration, respect, voice, opportunities, and participation. Further, dedicated educators create a school climate that empowers students and families.