"It is today we must create the world of the future."

Eleanor Roosevelt


William and Mary School of Education Conceptual Framework

  • Content Expert
  • Reflective Practitioner
  • Effective Collaborator
  • Educational Leader

Conceptual Framework Reflection

In order to prepare the next generation of teachers, the College of William and Mary’s School of Education has developed a comprehensive program. The program begins by laying a historical, psychological, and sociological foundation of education. From there professors impart the knowledge, tools, and techniques that allow the novice teacher to build teaching skills and plan for both instruction and assessment. In a short time the pre-service teacher has been transformed into a professional that can use what he has learned and build upon his knowledge through the experiences of this student teaching. At the end of student teaching and the completion of the teacher education program, remains an individual that is ready to teach. As an individual who is preparing to enter a professional career in teaching, I embody the four strands of the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework. I will leave William and Mary as a content expert, reflective practitioner, effective collaborator, and educational leader.

The College of William and Mary has succeeded in transforming me into a content expert. As a history major I took a variety of courses in the social sciences. Courses in Colonial-American, Latin-American, East-Asian, and British history have given me a well rounded knowledge of World History. My understanding of social sciences has been reinforced by courses in sociology, anthropology, psychology, and government. This expertise in social studies was demonstrated in my attainment of the award for excellence on the Praxis II exam for social studies. I first learned to transfer my content knowledge as a military interpreter for Colonial Williamsburg, but It was the dedication of my curriculum and instruction professor that prepared me to organize my content expertise into instruction for student learning.

A well prepared novice teacher is a reflective practitioner. Understanding that there is no perfect teacher, lesson, or way to teach each student drives me to constantly improve upon my instruction. The School of Education instilled a sense of discovery, exploration, and experimentation to be a more successful teacher. I consider it my duty to introduce technology, try creative lessons, and build upon the ideas of others. During my student teaching I took advantage of the Learning Resource Center and used document cameras, projectors, and educational software to enhance my lessons. To teach students about warfare during WWI, I took a chance and created a trench warfare simulation that was an active, engaging, and one hundred percent participatory lesson that ended up being the most successful lesson I have taught. When not implementing my own original ideas, I build off of the thoughts of others. One morning a colleague handed me an article on the Great Depression. That afternoon I was using it as part of a seminar on the effects of the Depression.

William and Mary-trained-teachers are effective collaborators. Whenever I experiment with a lesson or activity I invite my departmental head and other teachers to come and observe. If I take a risk in the classroom and find it to be successful, it is my practice to make copies of the lesson and distribute them to other teachers especially in the same subject area. I understand that sharing is a two-way street, so I am sure to accept lessons and ideas after passing out my own. As a teacher who focuses on primary document based lessons, I come across a lot of resources. It is not uncommon for me to print those resources, or compile a list to be used within the department. Lastly, I believe that effective teaching and planning should not be confined within a classroom or department, so I encourage administrators to visit my classroom often and see what my students are learning and doing.

The final component of the School of Education Conceptual Framework is educational leadership. As an educational leader I have shown my leadership beyond the classroom and school, served as a mentor, and engaged in educational research. As an employee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, I use my teaching knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach students and visitors from around the world about the life of a Continental Soldier during the American War for Independence. Though I am a military interpreter, I maintain the professional standards of a teacher and educate a diverse group of learners. Effective teachers are more than successful instructors. As an effective teacher I am a mentor to my students, peers, and colleagues, and maintain a high level of professionalism in and out of the classroom. As a collaborator I share what I have learned, what has succeeded, and where I have been less successful, in hopes that I can help and inspire others. Lastly, I do my best to motivate my students to become life-long-learners. As a teacher who practices what he preaches, I engage in educational research to perfect my instruction. To help students with AD/HD, I began extensive research to develop a scaffolding and behavior modification plan to increase their academic and social skills. These are the attributes of an educational leader.

The College of William and Mary provides the ingredients necessary to become an effective teacher. The School of Education prepares one part content expert, with one part reflective practitioner, being sure to include one part effective collaborator and a final portion of educational leadership. It is up to the individual to mix those four strands of the Conceptual Framework in order to become an effective teacher. During my practicum experience and student teaching I developed my repertoire of teaching knowledge, skills, and dispositions which are documented in my efolio.