College of Education and Psychology


Conceptual Framework
A Prescriptive, Reflective, Integrative Model for Educators

Conceptual Framework
Results of State Licensure Exams

The conceptual framework model developed, adopted, and implemented by the East Central University professional education unit faculty is based on essential knowledge, established and current research, and sound professional practice.  The framework model has been established to reflect the university mission and the unit philosophy and beliefs and the competencies and knowledge base for general studies, specialty areas, and professional studies.  The unit adopted the unifying phrase “Prescriptive, Reflective, Integrative Model for Educators,” or its acronym PRIME, to represent the model.  The PRIME model is based on current research and incorporates the five adequacy criteria for knowledge base models described by Valli and Tom (1988): scholarship, multiplicity, relatedness, usefulness, and reflectivity.  The works of Bruner, Bloom, Maslow, and Rogers are among those which have guided the development of the Model.  The ECU model was reviewed by stakeholders in numerous meetings during 2001 and revised to more clearly align terminology utilized in the current professional arena and more clearly demonstrate the system interconnectiveness.

The theme selected for the PRIME Model organization and curriculum is “The Educator:  A Prescriptive, Reflective, and Integrative Practitioner.”  This signifies that the approach is to be prescriptive with regard to what should be taught and to be reflective regarding what has been taught, as well as to integrate the curriculum.  The focus on prescriptive and reflective teaching comes from the work of Cruickshank (1985), Barnes (1989), Rikard and Beachman (1992), and Wellington (1991) and the call for an integrated curriculum comes from the work of Bereiter and Scardamalie (1987), Brophy (1989), Ducharme and Ducharme (1999), and Resnick (1987).


The East Central emphasis on an integrated approach to the instructional process is based on the premise that the teacher’s role should be to foster an understanding of integrated academic disciplines rather than isolated disciplines.  The integrated discipline curriculum approach focuses on learning with understanding which diminishes the fragmentation and reduction of information into isolated bits of knowledge (Oxley, 1994; Perkins and Blythe, 1994).  This approach integrates the content with an emphasis on whole, meaningful experiences that absorb and engage students.  The focus is on teaching for understanding.  Individual elements are not taught in isolation; but instead, students are taught to think critically and make integrative connections among these various elements.  In so doing, students are better able to use the elements in applicable situations in and out of school.  Students no longer simply “parrot back” information and phrases from lectures and textbooks; but instead, apply information to new situations (Gardner and Boix-Mansilla, 1994).

Professional educators cannot learn about instruction in a vacuum.  The actions of candidates and the content they learn impact instruction.  Knowledge related to student diversity, characteristics, and behaviors and content interacts with knowledge of pedagogy when making decisions about the instructional process (Anderson, 1989).  Thus, the PRIME Model developed and adopted by the unit faculty utilized a systematic, experience-based approach to developing program competencies.  As such, all graduate certification and certification only programs require extensive practica.

Through an explicit four-stage model of instruction which focuses on competencies, acquisition of knowledge, modeling and practice of pedagogy, clinical and field-based application, as well as professional application, students are provided avenues to learn and practice skills designed to meet the program competencies (see Figure 2).  An evaluation system which allows for institutional self-study, instructor evaluation, follow-up studies, and student evaluation, instructor self-evaluation, and chair evaluation provides the mechanism to constantly evaluate the student, the faculty, the leadership, and the program.

A cycle of continuous improvement is embedded in the Teacher Education Program at East Central University.  Practitioners, university faculty and administration and other program stakeholders meet regularly to review the program and to plan for revisions as they are needed.  Thus, the East Central University program has a clearly delineated knowledge base which is part of a continuous improvement process which involves the stakeholders of the program.  The program is knowledge-based and experiential and is targeted to meet the required competencies of both “NCATE and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.”