Educator as Reflective Leader
Faculty in the Education Unit have worked to organize and articulate the multiple dimensions of the Education Unit programs within a defined knowledge base and relate them to a conceptual framework and mission. In our continued support of and complement of the Fitchburg State University mission’s commitment to leadership and service to our community and the Commonwealth, the Educational Unit incorporates this leadership aspect into its Conceptual Framework. The overarching theme of our Conceptual Framework is “Educator as Reflective Leader.”
The concept of Reflective Leader embodies each element of our Conceptual Framework. Our Candidates embrace a variety of experiences to hone their leadership skills. Candidates plan, implement, and evaluate their effectiveness on students’ learning through varied field experiences. Feedback from mentors and supervisors helps to nurture our Candidates' self-reflection so that they can examine perspectives, biases, and teaching practices. Candidates analyze data to make data driven decisions that impact instructional, building, and organizational decisions that influence student achievement. As Reflective Leaders, our Candidates become partners in the community, recognizing the importance of today’s diverse society.
Candidates who complete Education Unit preparation programs are knowledgeable, skillful, competent, ethical, and caring professionals. Fitchburg State University Candidates use research, reflective thinking, and collaboration to provide leadership for effective educational practices in a diverse society. Candidates also provide successful leadership to affect policy development, research programs, instruction, and curriculum design.
Knowledgeable Candidates are literate in and have a broad understanding of the academic disciplines and their modes of inquiry. They are cognizant of the kinds of thinking basic to the development of an active citizen in a democracy. Knowledgeable Candidates are able to facilitate curriculum development and changes based upon changes in technology and the needs of an educated person in a diverse society. Knowledgeable Candidates are able to assess the developmental levels, social, emotional and academic needs of individual students and have the leadership capability to provide for these needs in their classrooms, in their schools and in their communities. Knowledgeable Candidates create learning environments that maximize both learning and the desire to learn. Candidates demonstrate leadership ability to create classrooms and schools that are safe, friendly and stimulating by collaborating with everyone involved with the students.
Another distinguishing characteristic of leadership is skill. Skillful Candidates facilitate their students’ understanding of important concepts in ways that are consistent with their experiences, developmental levels, learning styles and background knowledge. Candidates are skillful in implementing sound pedagogical skills and are positive, fair, supportive and respectful. Skillful Candidates model learning for their students and implement scientifically, research-based practices in literacy, mathematics, technology, science, the arts and the social sciences. Skillful Candidates create safe environments where students are supported emotionally as well as physically. Skillful Candidates are effective in obtaining resources for their classes and schools to insure quality support.
Caring and Ethical
Finally, the most important contribution to the tasks of leadership is that the Candidates exhibit the qualities of caring and ethical behavior. Candidates strive for excellence but do so with consideration for their students, knowing that they act in “Loco Parentis.” As such, Candidates’ interactions with students reflect not only their knowledge of research-based practices but also their compassion, caring, humanity and spirit. Candidates’ efforts to involve family and professionals involved in the lives of students reflect the Candidates’ knowledge of the need for collaboration and the holistic nature of education. Candidates demonstrate empathetic, adaptable, open-minded behavior that reflects their concern for the welfare of their students and their passion for teaching/learning. Moreover, Candidates take a leadership role in modeling high standards and ethical behavior in the classroom, in the school and in the community. They are committed to developing their knowledge of subject matter and methodology of instruction. They maintain confidentiality and professionalism. They demonstrate accountability regarding students’ success both to the students and to the public. The Fitchburg State University Candidate is entering a large, diverse world condensed by a variety of communication networks. The Candidate must take a leadership role in the following:
- Promoting appreciation of diversity.
- Developing safe, nurturing learning environments.
- Using research-based practices.
- Working with professionals, parents and community representatives to ensure that attention, learning excellence and care are afforded all students of varied abilities and ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds.