The mission of the Master of Education program at Elon University is to foster the development of master teachers who are characterized by reflection, inquiry, collaboration and action.
Reflection is a habit of mind for master teachers. They routinely consider how their instructional practice mirrors current understanding of teaching and learning. They measure their performance against high standards and constantly strive to improve their practice. They are aware of core values and endeavor to create a learning environment that reflects essential principles of character so that all students experience both personal and academic success.
Master teachers formulate questions based on critical thought and reflection. Not only do they pose key questions to stimulate learning in their classrooms, but they also pose questions to add to the knowledge base of their professional community. Directed inquiry leads to investigation, and action research leads to informed practice. Master teachers understand that questions empower when framed as guides for collaborative action.
Master teachers act on what they know are able to do and what results from directed inquiry or action research. They seek information and act ethically for equity and excellence in their classroom practice. They are prepared to lead responsibly in professional learning communities, on issues of equity, and in matters of global citizenship (?). They respond appropriately to the constant flux of emergent 21st century skills and expectations. They act to provide all students opportunities to learn.
Master teachers lead with a keen sense of ethical responsibility to the profession and student learning. They collaborate with colleagues and gather resources to support each other and mentor others. They are committed to their professional development and to improving the profession.They are willing to take on leadership in the classroom or school setting with or without a formal title. They recognize when to lead and when to allow others to lead. They advocate for and participate in initiatives and practices which affect positive change in student learning. They lead by contributing to the establishment of a positive classroom and school environment. They ensure that instructional decisions they make are adequately informed by data, standards, and a variety of students’ assessments. They communicate their vision for student learning to students, contributing to student empowerment. Most importantly, they lead by taking responsibility for student learning and the improvement of their schools.
Research and Professional Collaboration are two features that distinguish the graduate experience for accomplished teachers, and both are fostered by reflection,inquiry, leadership,and action. In master’s education, inquiry is grounded in the need to know and the desire to make a difference, thus becoming the foundation of action research. Paired with purposeful, deliberate reflection, inquiry leads beyond knowledge acquisition and knowledge-building to knowledge-making. It leads to deep and essential understandings about the nature of learning and teaching. Knowledge gained through research then makes a difference when master teachers collaborate with others in the educational community and provide the leadership to use that knowledge to contribute to professional practice.
A global community is larger than a single school community. It extends to encompass professional, business, service, and social communities, all of whom play a part in contributing to a vast knowledge-building society. Master teachers should be action-oriented leaders in this community -- collaborating, orchestrating, and synthesizing so that education is pervasive and integral to the progress of our society.
Effective teachers are professional. They view themselves as integral to a professional community that shares and builds knowledge about student learning and quality practice. They remain current and informed through collaboration with colleagues and participation in professional organizations. They hold high expectations for the academic and social growth of all students and establish positive learning environments to support that growth. To build a community of practice, they interact with colleagues, students, families, and others in the community in an ethical and respectful manner. Effective teachers are enthusiastic about the challenges and opportunities within the profession, and they demonstrate respect and support for their colleagues.
Embedded throughout the quality teacher-education program described in the conceptual framework are dispositions that describe the values and commitments that we seek to develop in all candidates. Effective teachers are committed to the following:
Candidates with these commitments have a propensity to act in ways that further the learning of all students. They are professionals who can meet the daunting challenges facing educators in the new century.