Planning - Planning for instruction refers to decisions that teachers make about organizing, implementing, and evaluating instruction. The planning process, which is fundamental to effective instruction, involves five successive, systematic steps:
1. Formation of goals
2. Specification of objectives
3. Assessment of student needs with regard to identified goals
4. Development of instructional strategies and techniques which form learning activities to aid student mastery of stated objectives; and
5. Evaluation of student performance relative to the specified objective
In this model, planning is seen as a dynamic process in that data generated in one phase leads to changes in the other phases.
Candidates begin their development of planning skills by demonstrating the ability to plan their time, class, and field experience schedules to meet program expectations. The level of planning increases as candidates work with advisors, cooperating teachers and College supervisors to ensure the successful completion of their program. Professional education and instructional strategies courses require bulletin board plans, management plans, tutoring plans, and plans for teaching individuals, groups, and classes. Student teaching is the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the complete planning process from establishing goals and objectives to meet the needs of a diverse student population to the process of evaluation. Candidates must plan to meet state established goals, prepare appropriate objectives, match instructional strategies with the needs of a diverse student population, plan for assessment and prepare a plan for their own professional development. (top)
Teaching Skills - Organizing and conducting an effective lesson requires appropriate planning and knowledge of a variety of strategies for the delivery of instruction. The beginning of a lesson must capture the students’ attention, stimulate recall of prerequisites, introduce the lesson objectives, and orient students to the lesson. Actions taken by teachers in the middle of a lesson must establish and maintain an effective learning environment. Closure and a summary of key concepts need to be provided at the end of a lesson. Teachers also need to give attention to time on task, wait time, clarity, and enthusiasm in presenting lessons.
Through a systematic progression of field experiences and classroom activities, candidates have many opportunities to observe, practice, and refine teaching skills and a variety of instructional strategies. Performance assessment which is required in each field experience provides candidates with information necessary to develop their teaching skills.
The opportunity to demonstrate mastery of teaching skills comes in student teaching. Discipline specific approaches to instruction from instructional strategies courses combine with general methods like cooperative learning from the Professional Development School experience to compose a broad instructional repertoire. Regular feedback from College supervisors and cooperating teachers nurture teaching skills. (top)
Interpersonal Skills - Interpersonal skills are at the heart of teaching. The teacher is expected to interact effectively with different people in multiple environments that characterize the school climate and culture. Successful educators must be capable of communicating with students, peers, parents, administrators, and other professional personnel. Interpersonal skills are essential in today’s schools where decision-making is shared and trust is built through collaborative working relationships among peers, principals, and parents.
Progress through the program provides candidates with frequent opportunities to interact with administrators, teachers, and other professional staff. Classroom experience in cooperative learning increases skill in perspective-taking and helps to develop other social skills necessary for effective communication.
Experience during student teaching in IEP conferences and SBAT experiences underscore the importance of professional interaction with peers and team members. Interpersonal skills are encouraged by peer tutoring which occurs during the Student Teaching Seminar. Interviewing skills are honed during the seminar and practiced at the Education Expo during interviews with potential employers. (top)
Decision-Making Skills - Teachers make decisions as they plan, implement, and evaluate instruction. The process of decision-making involves choices to arrive at solutions which end uncertainty. The linear-rational approach to planning is, in fact, a decision-making process. Decisions made at each point lay the foundation for decisions-making on subsequent issues.
As teachers become more experienced, they rely less on a linear approach to decision-making and more on the process of reflection. In this process, teachers reflect upon and evaluate the success of past decisions in an effort to make better decisions in the future. John Dewey is often cited as a supporter of the reflection model of decision-making which involves active, persistent, and careful consideration of classroom practices. Being a reflective decision-maker involves constant self-analysis of one’s traits and behaviors in relation to the events that take place in the classroom.
Candidates are involved in a wide variety of field experiences as they move through the program. Reflective journals kept during these experiences aid candidates in assessing their own decision-making and the decisions made by others. Journals, along with other reflective classroom activities, encourage the growth of decision-making. (top)
Professional Commitment - A deep and lasting commitment to students, to learning, to the discipline taught, and to professional practice is characteristic of the professional teacher. The committed professional adopts a high standard of professional ethics and models behaviors that are consistent with that code of ethics. Commitment to the profession is demonstrated by the teacher’s continued professional growth and development and serious pursuit of improving his/her professional practice. Commitment is assessed and nurtured as candidates advance toward program completion. Professional development school practicums are demanding and require much commitment on the part of the candidate. The experiences give candidates access to student information which requires good judgment in its use. Joint professional development in this experience gives candidates the opportunity to experience the professional commitment required in the profession. College organizations and activities as well as field experiences provide opportunities to understand and accept the commitment demanded of the professional educator. (top)
Diversity - Student enrollment from diverse backgrounds continues to increase in today’s public schools. This makes it imperative for today’s teachers to have knowledge and understanding of multicultural forces that affect teaching and learning. Teachers must be able to plan and implement a multicultural education program that integrates cultural diversity into all teaching and learning situations. Such a program must include awareness, understanding, and acceptance of cultural differences.
The many faces of diversity include developmental, linguistic, cultural, racial, ethnic and gender differences. Experiences with diversity both in the classroom and through field placement are designed to increase understanding of the array of differences which exist in the public school environment and of one’s own cultural background and biases. This understanding is expressed through the preparation and teaching of lessons intended to meet the needs of all students. (top)
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