Theoretical Framework

The Copenhaver Institute is committed to supporting educators as they seek to foster within students a lifelong love of learning. Toward this purpose, the Institute draws from a constructivist understanding of teaching and learning, a theoretical basis consistent with recent research and reform in education. From this philosophical position, the Institute structures its format, informs its decision-making process and guides its development.

It is the position of the Institute that a constructivist approach to teaching and learning is 1) grounded in the belief that learning is meaningful for individuals only when they play an active role in constructing knowledge; 2) compatible with pedagogical studies emerging from brain research; 3) suited for democratic education; and 4) responsive to the changing educational needs of the information age.

Constructivist in nature, the Institute is committed to research and practice that encourage:

  • Literacy opportunities which are student-centered and activity-based;
  • Problem-based learning experiences;
  • Personalized education that scaffolds learning by differentiating for students' learning readiness, interests, and learning profiles;
  • Learning communities committed to positive and productive relationships;
  • The use of critical reflection and analysis for shaping and transforming information into new understandings, roles, and responsibilities;
  • Opportunities to use literacy toward the development of human knowledge, skills, and understandings;
  • Contributions from diverse perspectives to encourage both individual and community understandings of subject matter;
  • Opportunities for all students to become active contributors within the classroom community;
  • Awareness that teaching is an intellectual process and activity that requires complex decision-making and understandings.

Comments from Participants

"After 30 years of conferences, conventions, workshops and post-graduate studies, I finally found a 3-day that met my need, kept me focused and wanting to attend again."

"Highly trained, motivated, impassioned keynote speakers/educators that "shepherd" others through the ongoing growth process of becoming exceptional educators with each child's success in mind."

"Where else could we be treated so well but at Roanoke?!"

"I had a wonderful time meeting and interacting with teachers from all over the state. It gave me the opportunity to network and share joys/concerns with my fellow teachers."

"It's a wonderful professional development opportunity that provides restoration, revitalization and renewal. Thank you!"

"Loved it! I reconnected with people I'd met in other places and I made new friends."

"I really appreciate the space the keynote speakers created in my thinking about teaching and learning. I have been frustrated of late with students and their interest in learning - and now I have a new approach (well, several, actually!). The Institute is invaluable."

"Providing teachers with opportunities to feel important and encourage each other and giving time to relax and enjoy...."