3.2b Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness in Lesson Adjustments
This standard is necessary for effective teaching because there are a variety of factors that can change a lesson during instruction. Teachers should be open and flexible to adjust their instruction based on how the students are engaging with the material or if there are interruptions in the learning environment. Using a lesson plan should be more of a guide for teachers, open to change and not rigid which might actually limit learning opportunities for students.
The evidence I have submitted below is an image of a page from a math worksheet which I had students work on because my lesson was losing the students attention. I needed to adjust my lesson because students were getting restless while working at the carpet completing a task that could have been completed more quickly. I had students on the carpet drawing different types of quadrilaterals on whiteboards and then taking turns drawing on the smart board. This proved to be too much wait time for students and the whiteboards started becoming distractions instead of tools to help students learn. After several reminders of redirection, I decided to end my instruction at the carpet and have students move to their desks, switching to drawing and explaining in their workbooks. Students were more successful after the switch and were able to progress through work books on their own.
I learned that being flexible to adjusting instruction is an important quality that benefits students and teachers time during a lesson. Instead of struggling through a task, switching locations will re-focus their engagement which resulted in more learning. I will be more mindful of what my students already know for future lessons and use these activities for more of a quick review to move on to more challenging material. Not having students sit in one place for too long will also help with pacing and keep their attention so as not to lose interest or focus on the specific content I am teaching.
The Peer Review Assignment for EDSP 6644 Educating Exceptional Students helped me become a better educator because it allowed me to research what current educators are working on to improve special education services. I was able to look at a variety of sources, which will be helpful whenever I have a question, or need to research a topic that comes up during my actual teaching in the future. My topic was co-teaching, which includes important aspects of teacher collaboration. It was great to see what this model looks like in reality and the benefits and challenges it can bring. This will help better prepare me when I am involved in similar teaching approaches.
Co-teaching is an effective model but one that requires patience and flexibility. It is important to interact with faculty throughout the school to get different perspectives and opinions that are different from your own. Co-teaching is not a teaching method where teachers should operate independently from one another. Having time to debrief, reflect, and plan is crucial for a successful and positive system. Learning from one another’s methods helps faculty grow as educators and provide best supports for students that need it.
The articles I researched also discussed the importance of professional development and training when adopting the co-teaching model. In order for this model to be effective, teachers need opportunities to learn methods and skills that have positive effects when collaborating. The program should be one that is meaningful and worth a teacher’s time. Educators have many responsibilities and need to be efficient with their duties throughout the day, including a new approach such as co teaching.
The peer review assignment allowed me to analyze and synthesize documents about a topic to learn more about different approaches to special education. I now have a broader view of special education and particular teaching strategies. I will take these concepts with me as I work in the schools and develop different approaches for helping students succeed.
Although this topic doesn’t revolve around the main theme of Special Education, I believe it still relates to grouping students based on their abilities and developmental levels. The debate over tracking and leveling comes down to students having the possibility of feeling isolated into groups. Tom Loveless (1998) argues that there is not enough research to back the points regarding discrimination of students being labeled as underachievers. This method of teaching actually helps students and gets them to the next level, teaching them appropriate material that is not overwhelmingly challenging. Jeannie Oakes (1999) writes that tracking groups actually works to isolate students that harms students academic image. Students are assumed that have all the same learning capabilities based on their tracking group.
I can see the benefit of having students together, working on similar material that is appropriate for them. These groups should be regularly assessed and flexible enough for students to move in and out of different groups. There is always the fear of isolation and separation with our classes which is something to avoid. There is a right way to handle ability tracking without allowing those feelings of entitlement and poor self worth. “Grouping is a more flexible, less permanent arrangement of students that takes into account factors in addition to ability, such as motivation, interests, instructional levels, and student efforts.” (Renzulli and Reis, 1991) The difference between tracking and grouping should be distinguished so students do not feel like they are identified at a certain level. These groupings can be helpful and effective to challenge student thinking and learning.
Renzulli and Reis. (1991) The Reform Movement and the Quiet Crisis in Gifted Education. Gifted Child Quarterly. (35, 26-35)
Session 1 National Standards vs Individualization
An issue causing debate with educational leaders is the idea of a national curriculum and standards for all students. This would have every student learning the same material and assessed on the same standards. Robert Hutchins (1953) argues that the purpose of education is to improve people and create intellectual and moral citizens. If everyone had access to the same education with the same standards, there would be no disparity between groups and people would remain equal and free in society. Theodore Sizer (1999) argues that people are inherently different and schools should embrace these differences. This makes for more meaningful education and a place for students to perfect skills they are passionate about.
I can see the value of both Hutchins and Sizer in their thoughts of national standards and curriculum. I would side more with Sizer’s arguments even though it would mean more work on the teacher’s part and creative solutions to assessing student’s growth. If each student had their own rubric for grading it would be much more difficult to see where the class was achieving as a whole. This system truly favors the child though and prepares them for doing their part in society. “ . . . the insistent coaxing out of each child on his or her best terms of profoundly important intellectual habits and tools for enriching a democratic society . . . “ (Sizer, 1999, p 11) Each student has strengths and something special to offer that creates balance in our world. Kids need opportunities to discover their skills and examine how best they can influence their fellow citizens.
Sizer, T. R. (1999). No Two are Quite Alike. Educational Leadership (57: 1) p. 7-11.
Teachers can foster student self-esteem by creating and maintaining positive, trusting relationships with students. According to Rogers (n.d.), teacher empathy, respect, and the frequency with which the teacher gave praise, accepted student ideas, and asked for thinking are methods for students to feel successful at school. Teachers promote the student’s self-concept (general sense of personal value) as well as their self-efficacy (personal beliefs about one’s ability to be a successful learner), when treating their students with respect and valuing their voice in the classroom. When we are positive in our teaching practice, we will receive positive student behaviors. Having strong interpersonal skills benefits all areas of teacher responsibility.
Carl Rogers emphasizing the importance of these interactions with students and the benefits that come along with them. In regards to under-achieving students, teacher empathy dramatically increases their ability to succeed in their work. “The level of person-to-person conditions the teacher offers to under-achieving students more frequently produced significant main effects on school attendance, gain in reading and math achievement, and change in I.Q. scores and self-concept . . .” (Rogers, n.d.). These youth in our classes at times can be difficult to reach and many approaches often do not work. Through Rogers’ research, positive relationships play a huge role with these students and can greatly impact their self-concept in regards to being a learner. As teachers, the more respect, acceptance, and student involvement we can provide, the more successful and effective our students will become.
Rogers, C. (n.d.). Teacher effects research on student self concept. Handout from EDU 6526, Seattle Pacific University, Feb 29, 2016.
As a teacher, how can I stay current with local and global societal issues and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in the classroom?
The technology world is continuing to develop and change at a rapid rate that directly influences the classrooms we teach in. Students engage with technology on a daily basis at home and at school. It is our job as educators to teach children safe and healthy practices regarding the use of technology and online identities. Teachers need to exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their practice and model this for students. Staying up to date with how technology is changing will help educators provide the most accurate information to students. Miller & Ribble describe the importance of collaboration to meet the issues technology can bring. “Educational leaders, faculty members, students, parents, and community members must work together to create workable solutions for the rapidly increasing problems related to appropriate use and digital citizenship.” (Miller & Ribble, 2012, p 144) Leaders will promote and model digital etiquette by relating online interactions to real life interactions and that the two are the same. Treating each other politely with kindness and respect in both venues is important to emphasize so students know the two are not so different and separate.
One of the members of my learning circle also addressed the importance of teacher modeling to students. Technology can be a distraction tool from learning if used improperly in the classroom. By teacher modeling, students can see how to use digital resources in class and any assignments related to technology. Students in this digital age have a lot of screen time both at home and school. Showing students the positive, educational uses for technology will allow them to effectively use their devices in the classroom helping them learn.
Northern Miller, T. & Ribble, M. (2012). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17: 1, 137-145.