“The teacher understands human development processes and applies this knowledge to plan instruction and ongoing assessment that motivate students and are responsive to their developmental characteristics and needs.”
As a teacher, I understand human development plays a major role in the emotional, physical, social, and cognitive understanding of students from grades kindergarten through 12th. With their varying degrees of development, student’s needs change and develop. Because of this, it is important that lesson plans change and are developed based on the needs of my students at the time. I also understand that at different points of development, physical changes may impact emotional and social understanding. This physical development can be influenced negatively by outside factors (drug, alcohol, abuse, etc.) and as a teacher, I understand the warning signs of a child in distress and how this behavior can impact a student mentally, physically, and cognitively. I also understand the different stages of development, from early childhood to adolescent, and how to appropriately plan a lesson based on the stage in which my students fall. This also includes the importance of play in an early childhood classroom. I understand how to maintain a positive classroom environment with reasonably high expectations for my students. I know that students must be taught life skills like decision making, organization, and goal-setting. Finally, I understand how peer expectations and related issues can influence students in both a positive and negative way and how to create a safe environment in which students can thrive.
Multiculturalism and Education: Opportunities for All Students
“The teacher understands student diversity and knows how to plan learning experiences and design assessments that are responsive to differences among students and that promote all students’ learning.”
As a teacher, I understand multiculturalism and diversity in students and how that affects their cognitive development in educational and social settings. In groups of different ethnicities, culture, language, gender, etc., I know how to best use those differences to create a positive and safe learning environment for all students. In settings with students with diversity, I understand how to respect their differences and incorporate those differences to better suit the learning environment of that child. I also know that diverse classroom settings can enrich the learning of all- especially me, as the teacher and facilitator of all discussions and activities. In students with lower socio-economic status, I understand that students may not have access to technology and can adjust lessons that may involve such to fit these students’ needs. Finally, I understand ELPS: proficiency-level descriptors for each domain (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced-high levels. I understand that students in different domains of ELL will require different accommodations at different times and know how to best implement these accommodations.
Designing Effective Planning
“The teacher understands procedures for designing effective and coherent instruction as well as assessment based on appropriate learning goals and objectives.”
As a teacher, I understand how to structure and plan for a lesson in a way that is both effective and appropriate. The TEKS are crucial criteria on which to base lesson plans; I know where to find them and how to implement the information they provide. I also understand that learning goals and objectives must be appropriate for the grade level and can evaluate the learning goals with appropriate assessment. With this assessment comes the understanding that I, as a teacher, am not being effective, I may need to go back a reteach the material needed by the group or individuals. I understand that structure and sequencing plays a vital role in the comprehension and effectiveness of a lesson and I know how to use structure in the most logical way. Most importantly, I understand how help students make connections. With developmentally appropriate lessons, I can make materials relevant, meaningful, and purposeful and help students make connections to real-life.
How Learning Occurs
“The teacher understands learning processes, factors that impact leaning and demonstrates this knowledges by planning effective, engaging instruction and appropriate assessments.”
As a teacher, I understand how learning occurs. With the knowledge of how learning occurs in students, I can effectively implement the information from the first three competencies. I understand how to create lesson which activate critical thinking and inquiry among students. By providing appropriate lessons and an environment of learning, students will use problem solving, research, and cooperative learning to enhance their cognitive development. I can use and teach techniques such as time-management and organization to give students age-appropriate study skills. Most importantly, I understand that what I do affects my students, both good and bad. I know that I will need to meet deadlines. I also know that my role in the classroom affects how students learn. By using visual aids, graphic organizers, and other learning strategies, students are encouraged to make connections and self-motivate. Finally, I understand how to incorporate ELLs appropriately into a lesson and how to scaffold information until they are comfortable on their own. As the saying goes, “practice make permanent.” I understand how to effectively incorporate repetition of an objective in an appropriate and interesting way, giving students the tools to make connections throughout all stages of development.
The Importance of a Positive Classroom Environment to Enhance Academic Achievement and to Promote Effective Social Interactions
“The teacher knows how to establish a classroom climate that fosters learning, equity, and excellence and uses this knowledge to create a physical and emotional environment that is safe and productive.”
As a teacher, I understand how to create a nurturing classroom environment in which students feel comfortable and safe to learn and explore new ideas. There are several ideas in this competency which can create this environment. As a teacher, I know that each of my students is unique and has different developmental needs. With this in mind, it is crucial for all students in the classroom to keep the positive environment by encouraging and contributing equally to the lesson (especially when working in groups). The environment of the classroom must promote a sense of acceptance and encouragement. By establishing this early in the year, students can benefit from this safe environment for the longest amount of time possible. I understand that the classroom environment begins with me. Because of this, I will work to always encourage cooperation, enthusiasm for learning, and acceptance of individual differences. I understand how to use praise in an effective and positive way- with growth of the student in mind. I also know the importance of the physical layout of the classroom, especially when students with physical disabilities are involved.
Managing Student Behavior
“The teacher understands strategies for creating an organized and productive learning environment and for managing student behavior.”
As a teacher, I understand the need for consistent and appropriate classroom management techniques and how to implement these techniques to the benefit of the entire class. By implementing a routine and classroom expectations early, a productive learning environment becomes the expectation for the entirety of the year. In young children, group activities can teach the appropriate way to interact with peers. As they grow and mature, I understand how to continue this development of equal collaboration in the classroom. As previously stated, an established routine can help create a positive environment and therefore positive behavior among students. This routine should include both restful and active movements which include time for play (especially in young children). I also understand that my time management play an important role in the in student learning. This includes planning for transitional time/material, appropriate materials, and how to incorporate non-instructional with instructional time. Most importantly, I know how to create lessons that are “meaningful, interesting, engaging, and relevant.” For students to stay on task (and eliminate the need for more discipline), the lessons I present must be appropriate and interesting, incorporating previous knowledge with new understanding. With this as the forefront of my teaching agenda, classroom management will become more about the learning than the behavior.
Principles and Strategies for Effective Communication
“The teacher understands and applies principles and strategies for communicating effectively in varied teaching and learning contexts.”
As a teacher, I understand how to apply effective communication in both teaching and learning contexts. I understand the developmental needs and differences of each age group and how to communicate with students at these levels. It is important to find appropriate ways to communicate based on students’ backgrounds and ages. I know how to plan lesson that involve facilitating discussions to engage all students and promote higher-order thinking and interaction by all students. I also understand the importance of communicating expectations with students and ensuring the directions are understood by all. With this, I know that adjustments must be made in case communication was not effective for all students. In discussions, I understand that types of questions play a huge role i.e. convergent verses divergent questions and that think time is imperative to student’s engagement and comprehension.
Student Motivation and Engagement
“The teacher provides appropriate instruction that actively engages students in the learning process.”
As a teacher, I understand how to present information effectively. With instruction, it is important to use several different methods: discussions, problem solving, etc.). By varying teacher and student roles, I can promote student engagement and involvement in the intellectual process. I also understand that the way lessons are structured, pacing, and flexible grouping can add to the engagement and cognitive understanding of developing students. I also understand that lessons must be relevant and meaningful. If the students can connect prior knowledge with current lessons, the student will create meaningful connections. Because of these connections, it is important to evaluate lessons (activities, resources, technology, and materials) appropriately for all students. It is important that I monitor the effectiveness of these lessons. I also know that students are encourages by different types of motivation, depending on their level of development, background, personality, etc. and how to use these types of motivation to create an environment of learning. Finally, I understand the importance of using these strategies to enhance ELLs and their comprehension.
Using Technology as an Effective Instructional Tool
“The teacher incorporates the effective use of technology to plan, organize, deliver, and evaluate instruction for all students.”
As a teacher, I understand the importance of technology in the classroom. I know the terms involved in current technology and the appropriate use of technology. With the use of technology, it is important to understand the legal and ethical implications (especially in the case of digital information and online resources). When looking for electronic resources, I know how to judge the nature of the resource and the validity of said source. I also understand how to evaluate the appropriate nature of the lesson involving technology based on the different levels of development and maturity. With this, I can incorporate technology appropriately in both individual and group settings while monitoring the activities involving technological use. I also know how to assess the products of technologically produced assignments.
“The teacher monitors student performance and achievement; provides students with timely, high-quality feedback; and responds flexibly to promote learning for all students.”
As a teacher, I understand how to appropriately assess student progress and comprehension and how to give both positive and constructive feedback. I know the different types of assessment (alternative, authentic, curriculum-based, formal, formative, informal, objective, subjective, standardized, summative, teacher-made) and the strengths and weaknesses of each. With this information, I can accurately evaluate my students and their understanding of the curriculum. I also understand that assessment is constant. Students show comprehension in various ways, and with the strategies presented in this chapter, I can better assess students. I also know that assessments must be appropriate in grade-level, content, and validity. With assessment comes feedback. As an effective teacher, I understand that I must provide timely, accurate, and specific feedback in order for students to grow in their studies. Once again, I understand that being a teacher means I must be flexible. Using continuous assessment, I can monitor the engagement and performance of students and add to the lesson when necessary or appropriate.
Increasing Parental Involvement: A Key Component of School Improvement and Reform
“The teacher understands the importance of family involvement in children’s education and knows how to interact and communicate effectively with families.”
As a teacher, I understand that parental and community involvement is a huge part of creating an environment of growth within the classroom and school. One major component of involvement is communication. I know the appropriate means with which I can communicate events, issues, and general information with parents. This has much to do with technology and the further we develop electronics, the more we, as teachers, will rely on electronic communication. It is extremely important to involve all caregivers in different portions of the educational program. As with many most of the previous competencies state, it is important to embrace the diversity of students and their families. I understand how to appropriately communicate and interact with families of different backgrounds, languages, cultures, etc. With communication, I know that I must keep information up to date. Whether that be a weekly newsletter, email, etc., the communication must be effective and regular. Finally, I understand how to appropriately conduct myself in meetings with caregivers and how to direct families to the resources necessary for student success.
Reflective Practice and Professional Responsibilities
“The teacher enhances professional knowledge and skills by effectively interacting with other members of the educational community and participating in various types of professional activities.”
As a teacher, I understand that professionalism is imperative to success both inside and outside the classroom. I know that I must maintain a professional relationship with my colleagues for the growth of myself as a teacher and for the collaboration for the betterment of our students. I also know that as a member of the school community, it is important to be involved both in activities sponsored by the school and by the district. With profession development, I understand how and when to find resources which will aid me in my teaching, and therefore my students in their comprehension. This aid comes in the form of mentors, conferences, workshops, professional journals, etc. Finally, I understand that I must honestly evaluate my teaching regularly by taking notes, keeping a journal, videoing my lessons, working diligently on lesson plans, and staying ahead on my paperwork. I understand that much of success in teaching is achieved before the workday begins and I know how to prepare to make the most impact in the little time I have with my students.
Legal and Ethical Requirements for Educators
“The teacher understands and adheres to legal and ethical requirements for educators and is knowledgeable of the structure of education in Texas.”
As a teacher, I understand that I am not above the law and can easily get into serious trouble by not knowing and following the guidelines in regards to legal and ethical issues. I also know the warning signs of a child experiencing abuse and that I am legally required to notify the appropriate authorities immediately if abuse is suspected. In regards to finding/keeping accurate student records, I understand confidentiality and the requirements of FERPA and the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators. I also understand that giving state-wide or district-wide standardized tests have certain rule and regulations that must be followed. These tests provide the information necessary to keep all testing facilities, administrators, documents, etc. legal and the same for each child (unless they are given a different test/location to fit student’s needs). I also understand that as a teacher in the state of Texas, I am held to a certain standard and I will do everything in my power to help my students succeed and to advocate for other teachers state- and nation-wide.