Standard #4: 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 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.
Standard #4: Reflection
This skill is something that I believe I learned the most in this summer, both through my students, teaching partner, and mentors. Every day, we strove to differentiate instruction with unique activities and varying work. The routine that we created was an entrance and exit ticket, ten-fifteen minute direct teacher presentation, a follow-up discussion, and then using the bulk of the time for an activity. Some of these activities included a carousel, framed images, workshop time, and simulations. The materials used were also varied, from images on the wall, PowerPoint projected onto the screen, discussions and notes on the chalkboard, and copies of documents. We also focused on mixing up engagement with the course, from full class discussions, to group work, to partner work, and to individual engagement.
One of the things that I learned was to focus on the value of group work but to manage its weaknesses. By week two or three, we had determined that we would self-assign the groups for certain activities to blend the personalities and to ensure that they were as productive as possible. These were created before class and projected on a PowerPoint. This was effective and a skill that I will use while teaching in the future.
Another piece of classroom practice was presenting clear instruction, which was approachable but not so slow or basic that our advanced students were not bored or off track. When I first started, I struggled with scaffolding and promptly wanted my students to begin working on the task assigned. Based on comprehension activities though, I soon realized that not all students understood what they were supposed to be doing. From this reflection, I realized that assignments should be broken up and on the board the length of the activity for students to refer to. Lastly, technology and images played a primary role in my classroom. Myself being a very visual learner, I tried to incorporate as many visuals as possible and presented all of my info on PowerPoints in what became a more organized fashion throughout the summer. Presenting both the information as well as an image to display it proved valuable for both my students understanding as well as my teaching practice.
Goals for this standard are to use the resources of my peers to better my understanding of technology and make it more clear for students. I also want to find more videos and specifically songs which add to the material for auditory learners. I’d like to continue working on slowing down my voice and being clear with instruction as well, both of which I hope to gain organically through the student teaching process.