Conceptual Framework for Teacher Education (CHECK)

What is the conceptual framework?

The conceptual framework for teacher education at Plymouth State University is a shared set of beliefs and attitudes that serves as the foundation for each teacher education program. The framework clearly identifies for faculty, staff and students the core values that we share as a community. These core values—Commitment, Holism, Experience, Collaboration and Knowledge—are meaningfully integrated into all teacher education coursework, service learning and practice teaching experiences.

How do faculty, staff and students use the conceptual framework?

Faculty, staff and students should incorporate the conceptual framework into all aspects of their thinking, planning and assessment. The underlying assumptions of the conceptual framework should be articulated and shared in our knowledge base, skills and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.

How do students incorporate the conceptual framework in their daily work in the schools?

Students need to think about the five elements of CHECK. Clarify in your mind exactly what the elements mean. Discuss with your clinical faculty member examples of each element and construct questions that help to define the element. For example, think about collaboration. What does it mean? Now consider how you as the teacher candidate collaborate with the school faculty, how does the school faculty collaborate with other teachers? Parents? Principals? And faculty?

Review the following elements of CHECK and begin to reflect on the meaning of the elements, start to look for examples in your work, your school faculty, clinical faculty and administrators.

In brief, the underlying assumptions of the conceptual framework are as follows:


We define commitment as dedication, perseverance, and individual and social responsibility. Our candidates are committed to lifelong learning and to increasing self-knowledge. They are committed to the beliefs that all students can learn and that education has the power to transform individuals and the greater society. Our teacher candidates recognize the responsibility of educators to take a thoughtful and critical stance towards themselves and their profession.


Our holism perspective involves affirming diversity and understanding the “whole child” within the family, community and cultural context. It includes working towards an integrated curriculum and recognizing how we a s educators are shaped by our own experiences and culture. This holistic perspective shapes our larger vision.


Experience allows us to put theory into practice. We provide opportunities for experiential learning that serves communities and schools so that our teacher candidates can do the same for their students. Experience also involves constantly renewing skills and knowledge within one’s discipline.


Collaboration involves working with students, families and colleagues effectively within the school context toward shared goals, demonstrating respect and openness towards diverse perspectives, and confronting and resolving conflicts effectively and respectfully. Collaboration enhances both teaching and learning, and is an essential part of developing the capacity to lead.


Knowledge refers to understanding the theory, content, methods, and materials and technologies of one’s field, as well as understanding child and adolescent development, learning processes, and student motivation within the familial, community, and cultural contexts in which children grow and learn. Teaching that engages all learners combines a knowledge of students and one’s subjects within the cultural, social and institutional context.