Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

In 1992, members of the PSU faculty representing the Education Department and the Council of Teacher Education developed a framework which was to serve as a basis for decisions made concerning teacher education. Three years later, a large and diverse group of faculty and professional educators came together at a workshop to review and suggest revisions to the framework. Their recommendations were incorporated into an expanded framework that was disseminated beginning in 1996. That framework became known by the acronym “CHECK,” which represents the core concepts and values of the framework: Commitment, Holism, Experience, Collaboration and Knowledge.  These core values are meaningfully integrated into all teacher education coursework, service learning and practice teaching experiences. 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 as 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.

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

The CHECK framework has been planned for, instructed and assessed throughout each academic program.  All disciplines have completed or are nearing completion of state and national standards aligned with the CHECK components.  The framework has been included within each disciplines’ syllabi and the components are aligned with the course objectives.  The underlying assumptions of the conceptual framework are articulated and shared in both introductory courses and upper level methods’ courses of each disciplines’ program.

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

As the core values are integrated into all teacher education coursework, service learning and practice teaching experiences, it is expected that all teacher candidates will embrace each of the components.  In addition, we expect candidates will begin to apply the framework in order to have an effect on student learning. The introduction of the framework occurs in specified pedagogy classes.  Within field experiences, the relevancy of the philosophy is discussed, practiced and assessed using Council approved instruments.

The Council of Teacher Education regularly discusses the need for a disposition assessment that would apply to all disciplines.  Several disciplines created and used a departmental form during the past year that assessed each candidate’s professional commitment to knowledge, teaching competency and student learning.  The Council voted that all programs would create a plan to assess candidates dispositions including the instrument, content, frequency and timing.

See Disposition Rubric Linked Below

To ensure that performance expectations are aligned with professional, state, and institutional standards a crosswalk has been completed by each program aligning the standards with the CHECK components as well as with the Diversity Framework. These documents may be found at Crosswalk

Presently, the Office of Teacher Certification requires Faculty Evaluation of the Student Teacher Candidate prior to the student teaching capstone experience.  The evaluation is required as part of the candidate’s entrance into the teacher certification program Gate 1. These evaluations align with CHECK.

How was the conceptual framework developed, who participated in the development and revisions?

The framework is a statement of purpose that grows and changes over time. The initial conceptual framework was developed in 1992.  Members of the Plymouth State College faculty, representing the Council of Teacher Education, developed a framework to serve as a basis for decisions made concerning teacher education.  A workshop held in January, 1995, solicited input from a larger and more diverse group of faculty and staff, which reviewed and suggested revisions to the original framework.  At this time the framework became known by the acronym “CHECK,” which represented the core concepts and values of the framework.  The frameworks were modified in 2002, 2003 and 2008.

To what extent do candidates and the wider professional community understand the unit’s conceptual framework?

The conceptual framework is introduced during introductory courses in education and reviewed in upper level methods’ classes and student teaching.  In addition, the CHECK framework provides the organizational structure for the Faculty Evaluation of the Student Teacher Candidate recommendation forms that are required of student teaching candidates.  Professors who complete these recommendations may be either teacher education faculty or from the faculty at large.

A formalized document of our CHECK philosophy is included within the Undergraduate Teacher Certification Handbook from the Office of Student Teaching.  This document has been included in every academic catalog for the past several years, in the Teacher Education section.  The 2009-2010 posting is on pages 174-178. In addition, several disciplines have included it within their department’s separate student teaching handbook.  Ideally, the framework becomes a platform for dialogue with both faculty who teach pedagogy classes and cooperating teachers; in addition, the framework is shared with school administrators and larger educational communities.

How is the conceptual framework reflected in the unit’s curriculum, field experiences and clinical practice instruction, and candidate assessments?

The components of CHECK are embedded through several teacher education assessments (i.e. faculty recommendation forms, student teaching observation forms, OTC and departmental midterm and final assessments).  These documents assist candidates as they advance through each step of the Gate system ( )

Diversity Framework for Teacher Education at Plymouth State University

In order to teach effectively and ensure student learning in a democratic and pluralistic society, each teacher education candidate at Plymouth State University, by the conclusion of his or her program, will have developed the ability to:

  1. describe culture as a multifaceted and dynamic construct
  2. critically examine his or her own sociocultural positions and understand the ways in which background and experiences shape one’s view of the world.
  3. learn from and about students, families and communities, and draw on this knowledge to inform instruction
  4. view students and families of diverse backgrounds and abilities in respectful and affirming ways
  5. acquire and extend his or her own multicultural awareness by exploring and learning about the history, experiences, beliefs and values of others
  6. recognize and challenge biases in him/herself and others, as well as institutional oppression in schools and throughout our society
  7. implement inclusive, culturally responsive teaching practices

It takes a shared vision and commitment among all teacher education disciplines to implement the frameworks.  Plymouth State is committed to meet this goal.