Standard Two: Student as Learner
Overview of the Standard: Standard Two: Student as Learner is about the student teacher demonstrating an awareness of and concern for the students in his or her classroom.
(RIBTS Standards: 2.4, 2.6, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 8.4, 9.3, 10.1)
How do you determine where you are in regard to this standard? To determine where I am in regard to Standard Two, Student as Learner, I am to look at the ways that I as a student teacher: seek information about the learner’s background and culture, seek information about the learner’s life experiences, achievements and past performance, seek information about and observe the learner’s strengths and limitations, developmental levels and learning styles, seek information about and observe the learner’s patterns of language use, seek information about and observe learner’s interests and talents, seek information about and observe learner’s organizational skills, use efficient and effective ways to document student characteristics and progress, listen carefully and respectfully to students, check in with students about inferences and assumptions s/he makes about them, develop an understanding and awareness of students as individuals without overgeneralizing or stereotyping.
Where are you in regard to this standard? I believe I am approaching Standard Two.
What have you attempted and practiced? At the beginning of Brown Summer High School, my teaching partner and I have asked students for information on their personal and academic background in a general survey and for information on their reading and writing background in a literacy survey. We have further learned about our students through personal artifact demonstrations, personal history presentations and journal entries. All this information we learned about the learner’s background, culture, life experiences, and interests we tried to put to good use through organizing activity groups and other activities. In the future, I’d like to develop a better system to track, remember and organize this information for use throughout a semester. At the beginning of the summer, we collected information on what our students already know about the topics we will be diving into this semester with the carousel of K-W charts, we continued to try to assess students prior knowledge of material being covered by additional K-Ws, entrance tickets, chalk-talk, contributions to class discussion and small group activities.
We also have worked on understanding our students as learners not only through the reading and writing survey, which gave us invaluable information about their love of reading, but also through informal formative assessments in class. For example we gave an exit tickets on the first day where we asked students for examples of historical artifacts and documents. We’ve also given lots of formative assessments by through other journaling activities and group projects. The case study we had to do in literacy was also very helpful, as to making me focus in depth on one student. I also gained a lot from discussing other MAT/UTEP students’ case studies with them. We also had to, for literacy, look at each student and rate their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills—this made me start thinking about trying to track students progress. We had our students put all of their writing assignments and activities that they did in class or for homework in portfolios, which was a great way for us to evaluate them and their skill development since we could open one student’s folder and immediately see what they did that day and what they had done in the past to see their progress.
Over the summer, we also worked on ways to communicate information and understanding teacher to student, student to student and student to teacher in non-verbal ways such as drawings or role-play. This worked well to get some of the students who didn’t participate much in class when we were doing more verbal activities to open up and participate though there were still some students we were having trouble getting to part-take. It must be true what the mentor teachers say that kids really want to do the “right” thing, because we had a good amount of success getting even the quiet students to participate when we “required” that everyone participate by tracking class participation by post-it notes and not allowing anyone to speak twice until everyone had spoken at least once.
What have you learned? I’ve learned that it’s really hard to keep track of all the students in a class (and there will be more classes at one time in the future) and their individual content and skill development. I also have realized I didn’t require students to make meaning out of all the information we exchanged and that doing so would go hand in hand with another important item we didn’t focus on in this summer class—developing critical thinking skills like discernment, analysis and evaluation.
What are your goals? My goal is to develop a way to track student participation and progress on content and skill development overtime, in particular—keeping track of student work and contributions in class that occurred in non-written ways. Another goal of mine is also work on incorporating who my students are, their culture and background into the classroom more.