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Conceptual Framework

The focus of the mission of the Professional Education Unit at Concord University is to “prepare professionals who are informed and thoughtful decision-makers.” The conceptual framework, Informed and Thoughtful Decision-Maker (ITD-M), was developed in collaboration with faculty and public school professionals. The conceptual framework, informed and thoughtful decision-makers, provides a common language that faculty, candidates, and public school professionals use when considering program design, assessment, and evaluation. This model provides the framework for curriculum, instruction, and assessment in both the initial and advanced programs at Concord University.

The ITD-M conceptual framework is based on research by Hoy & Hoy (2003), Hoy & Tarter (2004), Good & Brophy (1986) and others that identifies the capacity to make informed and thoughtful decisions is a continuing developmental process. As initial teacher candidates progress through the program, their potential to make informed and thoughtful decisions expands under the guidance and support of the faculty. As beginning decision-makers, they are provided with scaffolding appropriate for their decision-making needs. This constructivist approach for assisting undergraduateteacher candidates in making informed and thoughtful decisions gradually diminishes as they progress through the program, but never completely disappears. While the advanced program shares the basic goals, candidates obviously begin at a practicing professional stage, and are provided the opportunities to make informed and thoughtful decisions on a more sophisticated and advanced level. Course content, requirements, activities, and evaluations are such that the practicing professional must incorporate both theory and practice in a synthesis that is appropriate for individuals that have been involved in the profession for a number of years.

For undergraduates, support diminishes as skills and knowledge grow, so that at the end of the professional semester, graduates of the program have developed from algorithmic rule-followers into competent beginning teachers who practice an improvisational art form of decision-making. This is a cyclical process as undergraduate teacher candidates reflect on past decisions to make new decisions. At the advanced level practicing professionals improve and enhance both the theoretical constructs and the ability to make substantive judgments based on their continued growth. In consistency with the conceptual framework, the process is repetitive but the expectations, demands, and experiences are significantly more challenging for individuals at the graduate level.Both the undergraduates and graduates build upon their foundation of prior knowledge and spiral between theoretical knowledge and experiential knowledge synthesizing all three forms of knowledge while taking into account a specific context.


  1. Brophy, J. E. & Good, T. L. (1986). Teacher behavior and student Achievement. In M.C. Wittrock (Ed), Handbook on Research and Teaching. New York.: Macmillian.
  2. Cruickshank, D. R., Jenkins, D. B., & Metcalf, K. K. (2003). The act of teaching. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Hoy, A. W. & Hoy, W. K. (2003). Instructional Leadership: Learning Centered Guide. Boston: Pearson.
  4. Hoy, W. K. & Tarter, C. J. (2004). Administrators Solving the Problems of Practice. Boston: Pearson.
  5. Jacobsen, D. A., Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (2002). Methods for teaching: Promoting student learning. New Jersey: Pearson.
  6. Joyce, B, Weil, M, & Calhoun, E. (2004). Models of Teaching. Boston: Pearson.
  7. Kindsvatter, R., Wilen, W., & Ishler, M. (1992). Dynamics of Effective Teaching. New York: Longman
  8. Swain, S. (1998). Studying teachers’ transformations: Reflection as a methodology. The Clearing House. 72(1), 28.
Last updated on Oct 12, 2011. Originally created on Oct 1, 2010. Report incorrect information.