Master of Education Mission and Conceptual Framework

Vision and Mission

The experienced teachers who enter Elon’s Master of Education program are committed to their careers in education and have a strong desire to broaden their professional knowledge and skills. Our vision of the M.Ed. program is of a vibrant, challenging education community that fulfills the experienced teachers’ desire to explore, to grow, and to actively engage in their love of teaching and learning.

The mission of the M.Ed. program is to not only fulfill the hopes and expectations adult learners bring to graduate school, but also provide experiences that will allow them to

  • offer high quality learning experiences in their classrooms
  • provide ethical and informed leadership in their schools
  • advocate for equity and insist upon excellence throughout the education community
  • make substantive contributions to the advancement of their profession

Conceptual Framework

Our conceptual framework, Active Leadership in a Global Community, outlines processes by which candidates acquire knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions, which result in outcomes necessary for effective teaching. It also outlines habits of mind and action that M.Ed. candidates should have mastered.

Active Leadership in a Global Community

Processes – master teachers engage in:

P1: Inquiry

For master teachers, inquiry is grounded in the need to know and the desire to make a difference, thus becoming the foundation of action research. 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.

P2: Reflection

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.

P3: Action

Master teachers act on what they know, what they are able to do and incorporate research or 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 advocacy. They respond appropriately to the constant flux of emergent 21st century skills and expectations. They act to provide all students opportunities to learn.

Acquisition – master teachers acquire:

A1: Knowledge

Master teachers know learning theory, disciplinary content, and relevant pedagogy. They are cognizant of the developmental characteristics and diverse learning needs of students and of varying family and community cultures. Included in their knowledge base are an awareness of and an ability to choose instructional strategies, resources (including technology), and assessment procedures that promote learning in diverse students. They create positive learning environments that embrace diversity, act on the belief that all students can learn, and are dedicated to their own development as teachers and learners.

A2: Skills

Master teachers recognize that multi-dimensional abilities are required to be successful in today’s challenging education environment. They know literacy skills encompass far more than reading. Multiple literacies, including digital, visual, and technological, have joined information and media literacy as crucial skills today. Master teachers know they must think both critically and creatively when engaged in complex problem-solving, and they are able to communicate clearly in a wide variety of ways. They understand the importance of collaboration in promoting trust and building partnerships with all segments of the community. Master teachers are aware of the importance of basing their practice on well-founded theories and principles of teaching and learning. They are wary of easy solutions and interventions that work “for all students” in their diverse classrooms. They understand the need to look for evidence of efficacy and how to determine if the evidence is trustworthy.

A3: Professional Dispositions

Master teachers are intellectually curious, displaying a persistent desire to know and a habit of asking why. They are engaged in educational issues, and they are self-directed, so they are able to set clear goals and manage their time efficiently. They assume responsibility for their own actions and show a concern for the common good. Master teachers affirm diversity and value difference. They understand that learning is enhanced when students’ cultures are valued, and they are unswerving in their belief that all students can learn. They hold high expectations for 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.

Outcomes – teachers who are:

O1: Active, engaged learners

Master teachers are actively engaged and self-directed in their own learning so as to be knowledgeable practitioners and informed leaders. They are dedicated to their own development as teachers and learners. They are active participants in, and/or contributors to, disciplinary activities, e.g., action research, internships, and study abroad. They remain current and informed through collaboration with colleagues and participation in professional organizations.

O2: Knowledgeable, skillful professionals

Master teachers act on the belief that all students can learn. They investigate educational problems using action research methods and data analysis. They use performance data to improve student learning, classroom processes, and school practices. They use research to increase student achievement. In both the classroom and professional settings, they present content reflecting deep principles and a disciplinary perspective on issues and problems. They can access authoritative sources to enhance the content of instruction, and they are active participants in, and/or contributors to, disciplinary activities that demonstrate their understanding of current issues and trends in education.

O3: Informed, ethical leaders

Master teachers lead with a keen sense of ethical responsibility to the profession and to student learning. They collaborate with colleagues, gather resources to support fellow professionals, and serve as mentor teachers. They are committed to their professional development and to improving the profession. They are willing to take on leadership in the classroom and/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 that affect positive change in student learning. They lead by contributing to the establishment of a positive classroom and school environment. They ensure that their instructional decisions are adequately informed by data, standards, and a variety of student assessments. They communicate their vision for learning to students, contributing to student empowerment. Most importantly, they lead by taking responsibility for student learning and the improvement of their schools.

O4: Advocates for equity and excellence

Master teachers advocate for and participate in initiatives and practices that bring about positive change in student learning. Their role as a teacher extends beyond the classroom as they embrace and promote ideals of social justice in both policies and practices. They strive to have a strong and active voice in reform efforts and to be informed advocates for respectful practices. They are reflective practitioners who think deeply about their classroom practices and their impact on students’ lives. They ask and answer challenging questions about the underlying principles that guide educational practices. They think deeply about what they do, why they do it, and the implications of their choices. They aspire to develop a more sophisticated, complex, and abstract understanding of the educational process and to simultaneously develop a strong desire to help ensure equal access to high-quality education for all children and adults, either in, or outside of, the classroom.

O5: Globally aware citizens

Master teachers are knowledgeable of, and seek information on, issues of equity, technology, and global citizenry. They consider issues in the global context and incorporate their understandings in their teaching and professional lives. They demonstrate global awareness including not only knowledge, but also global abilities. They take global action, whether addressing local or international concerns, by employing acquired knowledge, skills, and dispositions to construct innovative, just, and effective 21st-century classrooms for the next generation of global citizens.

Habits of mind and actions – teachers who value:

H1: Research

Research is fostered by reflection, inquiry, and action. For master teachers, inquiry is grounded in the need to know and the desire to make a difference, thus becoming the foundation of practitioner 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.

H2: Professional collaboration

Knowledge gained through research makes a difference when master teachers collaborate with others in a global educational community and provide the leadership to use that knowledge to contribute to professional practice. Master teachers are aware of the global community which is larger than a single school community, e.g., 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 are action-oriented leaders in this community — collaborating, orchestrating, and synthesizing so that education is pervasive and integral to the progress of our society.