STANDARD IV – CLASSROOM PRACTICE
The student teacher exhibits confident control over a variety of approaches to classroom pedagogy. In direct presentations, s/he demonstrates sensitivity to pacing, timing, amount and sequencing of material, and form of presentations, as well as inviting student contributions and interactions. Questioning strategies are thoughtful, considering a range and arc of questions that develop logically from simple to complex. Group work is used effectively and students are carefully coached on the purpose and strategies of collaboration. Work required of students clearly reinforces basic skills (reading, writing, note-taking, oral presentations, listening) and builds toward more complex mastery (critical thinking, problem-solving, analysis, and synthesis). Technology skills are incorporated into lessons as frequently as possible, with the student teacher modeling the use of technology whenever possible.
Teacher Education Handbook, Secondary Education 2011-2012
I believe I am meeting Brown University Practice-Based Standard Four: Classroom Practice.
Since I began teaching, I have been very conscientious about the classroom practice goals I set for myself at the end of the summer, and I believe I improved my performance. Wait time and pacing were my major focuses, and I worked on both since my first day at Lincoln School. I believe my pacing had improved and reflected students' own learning paces. The fact that I wrote on the board as I engaged the students in discussions helped my pacing significantly: I could speak only as fast as I could write. I was rarely asked not to erase something because someone was not yet done taking notes, which I took as a sign that the students could and did keep up with me; and because the students gave adequate responses to my questions as we discussed and summarized what they learned in exit tickets, I know that they followed and engaged with the content.
I was also careful with my wait time when I asked questions. In the past, I tended to fill the silence with more explanations, which could have confused some students and intimidated the shy ones. I learned to wait in silence. Some students found this silence "awkward," but I was not bothered by this discomfort: for once, I was part of a community where silence was celebrated every Friday during silent meetings, and I knew that the awkwardness the students referred to was not their discomfort with silence but the urge to break it. And in one of my groups, this urge was exactly what I wanted the students to feel: the longer they waited, uncertain whether to take the risk and speak or not, the more likely it was that they participated. I noticed that the students volunteered their responses more willingly as my wait time remained impassively patient.
The last goal I set for my classroom practice at the end of the summer was to incorporate technology. I worked deliberately on this goal, getting out of my comfort zone and expanding my teaching tools. I made several PowerPoint presentations and showed two videos. After our final review session for one of the units, I asked the students to upload the review questions they generated onto the class's website. In the process, I taught the students how the site worked and how it could be navigated. During the time when the students worked on their final papers, I made myself available to them on Google Docs. I taught the students how to upload their papers and how to revise them as we chatted about improvements. I still rely on discussions, reading, writing, and analysis of texts, but I feel like I have made some progress in the area of technology.
To continue meeting Standard Four, these are the goals I set for my further professional engagement:
1. I plan to incorporate more technology in my teaching. I would like to learn how to use the SMART Board, and I hope I get a chance to work with it.
2. I plan to continue designing my lessons around essential questions and I plan to continue reinforcing the correlation among various themes through the common thread of essential understandings.