Standard 4: Classroom Practice
Meeting Standard Four:
"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 for collaboration. Work required of students clearly reinforces basic skills (reading, writing, note-taking, oral presentation, 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."
- Brown University Teacher Education Handbook
I grew a lot in the area of classroom practice, as I became more comfortable leading a class. I made good efforts to use different modes of presentation, such as by including demonstrations and visuals, and to make my presentations as interactive as possible rather than simply lecturing. I also demonstrated or modeled procedures for new activities. I also learned to build more comprehension checks into my lessons, such as by asking questions that invited students to apply or extend their knowledge, or even merely asking students to restate or summarize something, especially when checking if they understood a procedure.
As for collaborative activities, studets often worked in pairs due to the immobile setup of the classroom. Some other activities were done in larger groups, e.g. the fishbowl observations and the concept maps. In these cases, I held individuals accountable for the activities by asking for individual critical observations.
In terms of building student skills, I explicit showed my students various structured note-taking methods and had them practice using them and think about their benefits. Some students commented that this was helpful for their organizational skills. To explicitly teach presentation skills, I provided students with a rubric explaining the criteria for excellence, and gave them a mock presentation for them to critique using the rubric.
I designed activities that allowed students to apply concepts to new situations, such as by asking them to draw a food web of their real-life fishbowl ecosystems, or flipping coins to determine traits of their "children" to illustrate the principles of genetics. Whenever we performed a lab investigation or a mini-lab, I focused on developing the skills of scientific inquiry, such as formulating and testing hypotheses, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions.