Our Conceptual Framework encapsulates the full philosophy of Christian Brothers University's Department of Education. However, the two biggest aspects of this framework create the basic philosophy of this Department: "Teacher as Leader" and "Leader as Servant." The system of values, beliefs and understandings stem from these concepts and run as themes throughout the program.
Teacher as Leader
Becoming a teacher today is more daunting than ever, and teachers must be prepared inwardly for the challenges of this role, as well as, outwardly in relation to their instructional knowledge and skill in the classroom.
- A teacher must adopt a position of persistent belief in student potential and develop a high level of instructional skill in order to help all learners become successful; thus, dispositions (inward attitudes) are a concern of the program along with knowledge and skill.
- A teacher can no longer afford to think of the role as mastery of an individual classroom; the teacher must be able to relate effectively not only with students but also with parents and the community; thus, interpersonal communication skills are valued.
- Similarly, teacher responsibility includes effective interactions with colleagues and the ability to influence the policy, practice, character, and culture of the entire building in positive directions; thus, collaborative and team work skills are prized.
- Teachers must be concerned with excellence, both for themselves and for their students, and this means breadth and depth in the content studies as well as higher order thinking, complex and critical thinking, creativity, technology infusion, and values-based education.
- Teacher preparation programs must be practical, placing sufficient emphasis on the real world of contemporary best practice (and the reality of poor practice, as well), encountered through in-course practice, clinical and field experiences, the use of texts, materials, and technologies that reflect and represent contemporary best practice, and a program environment that values practitioners as experts and exemplars.
- Teachers must be encouraged to take a holistic view of learners as members of the human community. The holistic view includes consideration of physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of the human experience. The value of participation in the human community is emphasized through the collaborative approach and through exchanges between students that enhance learning and the aims of democracy. Spirituality is encouraged as the foundation of an attitude of service and commitment to the full development of others.
- The teacher has visions of possibilities--that all students can learn, that schools can get better, and that all teachers can achieve high levels of success professionally, witnessed by their students' accomplishments in learning. He/she encourages, recognizes resources and talents, offers comfort to those in stress, challenges students to achieve deeper understanding, interprets the world and events meaningfully, and walks the moral road.
Leader as Servant
- Preparation for the challenges of an administrative career must be inward as well as outward and involve the development of a spirit of responsible service toward the mission, the school, colleagues, teachers, students, the community, and the public at large.
- Service to the mission of the school and society and to others, especially those for whom one has moral responsibility, has primacy over ego needs.
- A leader values the human dignity of all children and young people and ensures that their needs for a good education and self-development in a safe, secure, and caring school environment are met. In addition, a servant-leader values and enhances the dignity of all adults in the school community and ensures that the developmental needs of the adults in the school environment are also met and advanced.
- An educational leader guides and influences the school with care and wisdom toward becoming a moral community that is both just and compassionate.
- Collaborating with colleagues, a leader develops the school as a learning community and creates shared leadership to enhance leadership capacity in the school as a whole.
- A leader understands and implements best practice in both leadership and management, including technology, while honoring the ideal of administration as a moral and ethical craft.
- Leaders are advocates: for the potential role of education in achieving social justice in human society, for better schools, for student learning and achievement, for children and young people, for communities, and for morally responsible action on the part of all educators.