A Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK): Complexity of Individual Aspects and Their Interactions

A Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK): Complexity of Individual Aspects and Their Interactions

Robert N. Ronau (University of Louisville, USA) and Christopher R. Rakes (Institute of Education Sciences, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-750-0.ch004
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In this study, we examine the validity of the Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK) through a systematic review and meta-analysis. This model, developed through a series of exploratory studies, transforms current understanding of teacher knowledge from a linear structure to a three dimensional model by pairing 6 inter-related aspects into three orthogonal axes: 1) Field comprised of subject matter and pedagogy; 2) Mode comprised of orientation and discernment; and 3) Context comprised of individual and environment. The current study analyzes the way interactions of these aspects appear in literature across a wide domain of subject matters. These interactions have direct implications for future research on teacher knowledge as well as policies for guiding professional development and pre-service teacher training.
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Teacher knowledge forms the foundation for all the pedagogical decisions that occur in the classroom, drawing upon teachers’ personal experiences, education, and other teacher preparation (Borko & Putnam, 1995). Several teacher knowledge frameworks have been put forward to explain components of teacher knowledge (e.g., Cochran & Conklin, 2007; Even, 1990; Jacobson, 1997; Salhi, 2006; Sankar, 2010), and some frameworks have gone so far as to hypothesize interactions among these components, most noticeably, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, or PCK (Shulman, 1986). Yet no single framework exists to encapsulate the complexity of teacher knowledge. A new framework clarifying the nature of teacher knowledge could provide a structure for more precise research on the nature of teacher knowledge and its impact on student learning and achievement (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 2000). Similarly, Wilkinson (2005) described the need for formal understanding of teacher knowledge to avoid the erosion of teacher autonomy and the professionalization of teaching. Korthagen and Lagerwerf (2001) considered a broader, all-encompassing teacher knowledge framework to be a necessary component for diagnosing and correcting gaps between theory and practice.

The Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK; Ronau et al., 2010; Ronau, Rakes, Wagner, & Dougherty, 2009; Ronau, Wagener, & Rakes, 2009) was developed to address this need by integrating six aspects of teacher knowledge into a single, three-dimensional structure. The present study develops the validity of CFTK through a systematic review of literature by addressing the following questions:

  • 1.

    Does CFTK address all aspects of teacher knowledge found in existing research?

  • 2.

    Which CFTK aspects have been seen to interact in existing research?



Several knowledge frameworks have been posited and accepted related to student thinking and learning such as Bloom’s hierarchical taxonomy (Bloom, Englehart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956), Hiebert and Carpenter’s (1992) procedural and conceptual knowledge, Skemp’s instrumental and relational types of knowledge (1976/2006), Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (Webb, 2002, Webb & Kane, 2004), and Porter’s (2002) Cognitive Demand. These frameworks began the work of exploring knowledge and learning generally from the standpoint of what teachers need to know about student learning.

Another wave of studies developed Shulman’s PCK further by examining the application of PCK to specific contexts such as Mathematics Knowledge for Teachers (MKT; Hill, Schilling, & Ball, 2004), and Technology Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK; Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Niess, 2005). These and other frameworks significantly contribute to understanding the inner workings of some aspects of teacher knowledge including some aspect interactions, but none of these frameworks accounts for all of the components of teacher knowledge found in literature, and no framework has attempted to address all known interactions of teacher knowledge aspects. Such an absence in the literature may result in a lack of focus about fundamental problems in education such as which aspects are important for short term and long term student growth and learning, whether different aspects and interactions are more important across different subject matters and grade levels, and which aspects and interactions need further study and the nature of such needs. The complexity of teacher knowledge may account for much of this deficiency.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Robert N. Ronau, Christopher R. Rakes, Margaret L. Niess
Robert N. Ronau, Christopher R. Rakes, Margaret L. Niess
Chapter 1
Margaret L. Niess
Technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) is a dynamic lens that describes teacher knowledge required for designing, implementing, and... Sample PDF
Teacher Knowledge for Teaching with Technology: A TPACK Lens
Chapter 2
Matthew J. Koehler, Tae Seob Shin, Punya Mishra
In this chapter we reviewed a wide range of approaches to measure Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). We identified recent... Sample PDF
How Do We Measure TPACK? Let Me Count the Ways
Chapter 3
Thomas C. Hammond, R. Curby Alexander, Alec M. Bodzin
The TPACK framework provides researchers with a robust framework for conducting research on technology integration in authentic environments, i.e.... Sample PDF
Assessment in Authentic Environments: Designing Instruments and Reporting Results from Classroom-Based TPACK Research
Chapter 4
Robert N. Ronau, Christopher R. Rakes
In this study, we examine the validity of the Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK) through a systematic review and meta-analysis.... Sample PDF
A Comprehensive Framework for Teacher Knowledge (CFTK): Complexity of Individual Aspects and Their Interactions
Chapter 5
Lynn Bell, Nicole Juersivich, Thomas C. Hammond, Randy L. Bell
Effective teachers across K-12 content areas often use visual representations to promote conceptual understanding, but these static representations... Sample PDF
The TPACK of Dynamic Representations
Chapter 6
Erica C. Boling, Jeanine Beatty
This chapter informs teacher educators and individuals involved in teacher professional development about the tensions that frequently arise when... Sample PDF
Overcoming the Tensions and Challenges of Technology Integration: How Can We Best Support our Teachers?
Chapter 7
John K. Lee, Meghan M. Manfra
To address the myriad effects that emerge from using technology in social studies, we introduce in this chapter the concept of vernaculars to... Sample PDF
TPACK Vernaculars in Social Studies Research
Chapter 8
Stephen J. Pape, Karen E. Irving, Clare V. Bell, Melissa L. Shirley, Douglas T. Owens, Sharilyn Owens, Jonathan D. Bostic, Soon Chun Lee
Classroom Connectivity Technology (CCT) can serve as a tool for creating contexts in which students engage in mathematical thinking leading to... Sample PDF
Principles of Effective Pedagogy within the Context of Connected Classroom Technology: Implications for Teacher Knowledge
Chapter 9
Christopher J. Johnston, Patricia S. Moyer-Packenham
Multiple existing frameworks address aspects of teachers’ knowledge for teaching mathematics with technology. This study proposes the integration of... Sample PDF
A Model for Examining the Criteria Used by Pre-Service Elementary Teachers in Their Evaluation of Technology for Mathematics Teaching
Chapter 10
Joseph M. Piro, Nancy Marksbury
With the continuing shift of instructional media to digital sources occurring in classrooms around the world, the role of technology instruction in... Sample PDF
Technologizing Teaching: Using the WebQuest to Enhance Pre-Service Education
Chapter 11
Travis K. Miller
This chapter details a theoretical framework for effective implementation and study of technology when used in mathematics education. Based on... Sample PDF
A Theoretical Framework for Implementing Technology for Mathematics Learning
Chapter 12
David A. Slykhuis, Rebecca McNall Krall
In this review of recent literature on the use of technology to teach science content, 143 articles from 8 science education journals were selected... Sample PDF
Successful Implementation of Technology to Teach Science: Research Implications
Chapter 13
Irina Lyublinskaya, Nelly Tournaki
A year-long PD program was provided to four NYC integrated algebra teachers. The PD comprised of teacher authoring of curriculum that incorporated... Sample PDF
The Effects of Teacher Content Authoring on TPACK and on Student Achievement in Algebra: Research on Instruction with the TI-Nspire™ Handheld
Chapter 14
Robert N. Ronau, Christopher R. Rakes
This chapter examines issues surrounding the design of research in educational technology and teacher knowledge. The National Research Council... Sample PDF
Making the Grade: Reporting Educational Technology and Teacher Knowledge Research
About the Contributors