Standard 2: Student as Learner
Meeting Standard 2:
"The student teacher demonstrates an awareness of, and concern for, the people in his/her classroom. Focusing on learners as full human beings with a rich history, unique characteristics, substantive achievements, talents, skills and interests, the student teacher does his/her best to observe, document and learn about those students. S/he works hard to 'understand their understanding.'"
- Brown University Teacher Education Handbook
I did a lot with this standard right off the bat, when I issued a survey gauging background, interests, and learning styles, and asked them to write a letter where they could explain more about themselves. It did not stop there, however. Through private conversations, I learned more about my students, including some of the obstacles they face that hindered their progress in school, such as after-school jobs and health problems. Because I was aware that students had outside lives, I tried not to make assumptions about their ability or behavior. Instead, I expressed my concern and let them know what options they have, including making up work and coming after school.
With my awareness of the diversity of learning styles and talents in my class, I consistently presented information and assessed knowledge through different modalities. For a research project about biomes, for instance, students had the opportunity to demonstrate some of their findings through an extra-credit creative project that could be visual, musical, etc. I had also made an effort to get feedback from my students about the assignments and activities I have given them—for instance, they drew experience maps of the ecology unit (examples in the photo gallery above), in which they identified assignments and activities that were enjoyable, difficult, useful, etc. They also expressed what topics they still found confusing and what they would like to learn more about. These comments helped shape my planning in the future.