Standard 6: Professional Knowledge and Growth
Meeting Standard Six:
"In face-to-face debriefings, journal writing, and formal self-analysis, the student teacher demonstrates the positive acceptance of feedback and makes a thoughtful response to it. Classroom planning and implementation demonstrates that the student teacher has internalized and is making use of feedback. Beyond the classroom, the student teacher avails him/herself of professional publications, conferences, and workshops to improve his/her practice and to develop the habits necessary for continued professional growth."
- Brown University Teacher Education Handbook
In my efforts to continuously review and improve my teaching practice, I reflected daily on my lesson plans, as can be seen here and here. My reflections helped me make adjustments to the following day's lesson, as well as the next time I repeated a method. Knowing what questions were likely to be asked, or if a certain explanation or method wasn't effective, meant that I could do better next time instead of repeating the same mistakes. I also used ideas from class and learning theory, such as the 5E (now 7E?) cycle to inform the way I planned lessons. When given constructive feedback from observations, I took them to heart and used it to shape subsequent lessons.
One of the most interesting and vital aspects of student teaching was the opportunity to observe other teachers at work. I regularly sat in on a variety of teachers' classes, from special ed to honors classes, both within my discipline and in other areas of study, and took meticulous notes. The act of taking notes ensured that I was paying attention to small details, such as whether all students were engaged at any given moment, as well as providing me a record of strategies and activities that I could later try.
Some of the most valuable observations I made had nothing to do with teachers' plans, but with the ways they dealt with unexpected student behavior. I learned from a teacher who was flexible but firm with a student who didn't want to work in a group, and from another teacher who allowed an enraged student to leave the class without further provocation and cool off before willingly returning and getting back to work. This latter observation provided evidence to me that a technique I had learned at RIASCD's Pre-Service Teachers' Conference - the Nurtured Heart Approach - worked in practice.