University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Teacher Education Program

Conceptual Framework


The Conceptual Framework of the Professional Eduation Program of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford serves to provide pre-service teachers with specific content knowledge and sound pedagogical strategies enabling them to become innovative facilitators of learning for PK-12 students in a world of rapid political, economic, scientific, and cultural change. "Reaching the nation's education goals requires high standards for the teaching force" (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, pg. 3, 2008).

The Conceptual Framework is derived from the mission of the university and professional literature and represents the views of professional stakeholders that include administrators, educators, alumni, and current students on the Education Advisory Committee and faculty of the Education Program.

The Conceptual Framework is visually represented as the paw of a panther, the grandest of Pennsylvania's beasts and a symbol of mastery and power. Each talon of its paw reflects the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of future educational facilitators and leaders. University of Pittsburgh at Bradford graduates are prepared to identify, address, and meet the needs and aspirations of all students. The program embraces the importance of blending theory and practice by supporting the development of our students' skills, talents, dispositions, and knowledge to become innovative facilitators of learning who bridge theory to practice for all 21st century learners.


We support the development of our candidates' skills, talents, dispositions, and knowledge to become Facilitators of Learning who bridge theory to practice for all 21st century learners. Candidates demonstrate excellence in proficiencies that follow Charlotte Danielson's Framework of Teaching:

Applies Knowledge of Content & Pedagogy - "Teachers do not teach their subjects in a vacuum; they teach them to students. In order to ensure student learning, therefore, teachers must not only know their content and its related pedagogy, but the students to whom they wish to teach that content" (Danielson, 2011, p. 3).


  • Recognizes and applies applications of learning theorists and learning domains in a range of environments to motivate and engage all learners.
  • Applies developmentally appropriate practices to facilitate learning.
  • Follows state, district, and school expectations, along with laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Selects goals, objectives, resources, technology, and assessment tools that demonstrate knowledge of content, pedagogy, and intentional instruction to address the varied needs of diverse students.
  • Utilizes effective questioning to foster higher order thinking skills.
  • Provides effective, timely feedback to students.
  • Implement Common Core Standards in curriculum.

Builds Collaborative Communities of Learners and Teachers - "An essential skill of teaching is that of managing relationships with students and ensuring that those among students are positive and supportive. Teachers create an environment of respect and rapport in their classrooms by the ways they interact with students and by the interaction they encourage and cultivate among students. An important aspect of respect and rapport relates to how the teacher responds to students and how students are permitted to treat one another" (Danielson, 2011, p. 18).


  • Applies classroom management procedures, organizes physical space, and monitors student behavior in order to establish a culture for learning.
  • Facilitates classroom interactions that are highly respectful; reflecting genuine warmth, caring, and sensitivity to students as individuals.
  • Exhibits preparedness, excellent listening strategies, and flexibility to reinforce respect and rapport with students.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of students' interests, needs, strengths, and areas of concern to create college ready/community ready productive members of society.
  • Establishes professional connections and collaborative opportunities in the community that will enrich student learning.

Displays Professional Dispositions - "Expert teachers demonstrate professionalism in both service to students as well as to the profession. Teaching at the highest levels of performance in this component is student focused, putting students first, regardless of how this might challenge long-held assumptions, past practice or simply what is easier or more convenient for teachers. Accomplished teachers have a strong moral compass and are guided by what is in the best interest of students" (Danielson, 2011, p. 52).


  • Presents a professional attitude toward students, colleagues, parents, and members of the community that includes integrity, honesty, and ethical conduct.
  • Exhibits consistent respect for differences and diversity among students and colleagues.
  • Incorporates innovative problem solving.
  • Demonstrates leadership skills.

Practices Reflective Teaching - "Reflecting on teaching encompasses the teacher's thinking that follows any instructional event, an analysis of the many decisions made both in planning and implementation of a lesson. Over time, this way of thinking and analyzing instruction through the lens of student learning, becomes a habit of mind, leading to improvement in teaching and learning" (Danielson, 2011, p. 42).


  • Designs learning experiences that apply reflective teaching practices to identify and meet students' needs and interests.
  • Incorporates a variety of assessment strategies to implement data-driven decision making.
  • Demonstrates understanding of reflection with instructional design.

To achieve the themes and proficiencies of this conceptual framework, the education program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford provides quality and rigorous educational courses. Small class sizes, conscientious advising, and close monitoring of students during their extensive field and student teaching experiences develop innovative facilitators of learning.

Proficiencies Aligned with Professional and State Standards

The Conceptual Framework ensures that the proficiencies of individuals are aligned with professional and state standards.

Assessment System    

Evaluations and assessments are based on quality, dispositions, and continuous improvement. Prior to admission in the program, each candidate must demonstrate potential for success through passing the PAPA modules (Reading, Mathematics, Writing) or achieving the SAT score of 1550, and this will include no individual section (Critical Reading, Writing, Mathematics) score of less than 500, along with a 3.0 GPA, as well as demonstrating professional communication skills, experiences, and dispositions. The faculty assesses candidates throughout the educational program with a variety of formative and summative instruments. The criteria of each assessment identifies the degree to which the candidate shows satisfactory preparation as a knowledgeable, skillful, caring, and inquiring practitioner, facilitator, and leader. During field based experiences that begin during the sophomore year, candidates are continually assessed through observations and application of various assessment rubrics by course instructors, cooperating teachers, and supervisors. PRAXIS II or PECT test scores, grade point averages, and portfolios are used to assess candidates' preparedness for exiting the programs.                                     Conceptual Framework.jpgPitt-Bradford Home Page