Department ofEducation

Conceptual Framework

The Proactive Educator

Members of the Louisiana State University at Alexandria's Department of Education, Teacher Education Council, and members of the PK16+ Council participated in the evolution of a conceptual framework that would provide the underlying structure within which the LSUA teacher education programs would develop and regularly be reviewed. The framework would also offer guidance for the operations of the unit and provide direction for decisions related to programs, curriculum, teaching, faculty and candidate performance, as well as unit accountability. The description of the framework that emerged as the result of many collaborative sessions is described below.

The proactive educator is the unifying concept on which the institution and the teacher education unit base the LSUA teacher education programs. Proactive educators possess the drive, commitment, and determination to positively impact the development and growth of ALL students. They are constantly assessing student needs and are prepared to intervene to ensure that those needs are met. They are aware of and prepared to respond to the diversity of the needs they encounter. They possess technological knowledge and skills that enable them to enhance the learning of their students as well as their professional performance. The general education and professional curricula from which LSUA proactive educators are prepared ensures that they possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to perform within their profession in a proactive manner

The knowledge, skills, and disposition goals of the unit form the foundation of the conceptual framework. The components of each goal are supported by identified structural elements. The knowledge components are knowledge of the learner, the content, the environment, and pedagogy. The skills component includes skills in communicating, assessing, planning, collaborating, facilitating learning, and integrating technology. The dispositional components include thinking and action indicators that are learner-focused, educator-focused, and profession-focused, and family/community-focused.

The Graphic

The live oak tree was selected as the graphic to represent the proactive educator for several reasons. First, the land on which LSUA sits was once the site of Oakland Plantation. A number of the original live oak trees still grace the campus. Second, the live oak is sturdy, adaptable, and well grounded. This characteristic was poignantly illustrated in a news article that described the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the trees in New Orleans. The article reported that The city's live oaks, in particular the massive, gnarly trees that give New Orleans so much of its shade and character braved Katrina with particular aplomb. These trees, some of them hundreds of years old, are well adapted to this storm-prone, water environment. (The Town Talk, Saturday, October 22, 2005, A5). Third, the oak tree yields fruit (acorns) which is the result of the sustenance and nurturing received from a well grounded and fed root system. Similarly, LSUA proactive educators are well grounded in identified knowledge, skills, and dispositions, are challenged by a strong professional curriculum, and are supported throughout their professional growth by qualified university faculty and field-based mentors. The curricular sustenance they receive, the challenges the meet, and the nurturing they experience result in their abilities to proactively and annually produce the fruit of their professional labors: Successful P-12 Students!

The three major dimensions of the graphic are the root system, the canopy of the tree, and the P-12 student who emerged from the fruit produced by the tree. The root system represents the unit goals with major components of each goal identified. The canopy of the tree with different presentation of the proactive educator represents the fully prepared and unique educators who evolve from the same rigorous curriculum. The diverse P-12 student imprinted on the tree in a winner's pose, represents one of the many successful students who will emerge from the professional care and actions of each LSUA Proactive Educator!