Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

The teaching programs at Northwestern University are guided by the Northwestern University Conceptual Framework, a philosophical foundation that is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Our mission is to prepare knowledgeable, reflective and innovative teachers who will lead and inspire students. Our Conceptual Framework is comprised of a vision of learning, a vision of learners and a vision of teaching.


1. A Vision of Learning that includes:

  • 1.1 how students come to understand and think about subject matter
  • 1.2 an emphasis on inquiry and reflection
  • 1.3 the importance of collaboration and social interaction
  • 1.4 experiential activities that are relevant and engaging

2. A Vision of Learners that includes:

  • 2.1 the belief that every person is capable of learning
  • 2.2 the belief that development is shaped by social contexts
  • 2.3 equitable experiences for all

3. A Vision of Teaching that includes:

  • 3.1 connecting theory and practice
  • 3.2 inquiry, reflection, collaboration, and innovation
  • 3.3 creating a climate of learning for all students
  • 3.4 acting professionally, responsibly, and ethically

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation defines dispositions as “habits of professional action and moral commitment to teaching.” The Northwestern teacher preparation programs will help candidates acquire the following dispositions to the level of proficiency:
  • to reflect on one's own practice and make changes as appropriate
  • to support students as individuals
  • to collaborate with all stakeholders
  • to engage all students
  • to incorporate innovations in teaching, including the use of new technologies
  • to conduct one's self professionally, responsibly, and ethically

Contact Us

Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

618 Garrett Place
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/467-1458

Email: msedprog@sesp.northwestern.edu