Professional Teaching Standard #4

EFFECTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

Management and monitoring of time, relationships, students, and classrooms to enhance learning, including the ability to:

a. Engage students in meaningful learning experiences while maximizing the use of instructional time;

In my classroom, I like to have a variety of activities that use a number of different approaches to teaching in order to maximize learning time.  I try to minimize wasted time as much as possible and designs different portions of lessons to seamlessly transition between each other so that students are able to stay focused and as to not lose any instructional time.

b. Structure the classroom environment to promote positive peer interactions and positive self-esteem, to ensure that each student is a valued participant in an inclusive learning community.

From day one in my classroom, I like to create a respectful, safe learning zone for all of my students.  Students are encouraged to share themselves with the class and know that their feelings are valued and important.  In order to foster this sort of environment in the classroom, I like to share as much of myself as possible with students and act as a good role model with positive self esteem. By doing this, I show students that my classroom is a place where everyone is entitled to feel good about themselves and that they belong on both a personal and academic level.

c. Construct a learning environment and grading process where both teacher and students have high expectations and mutually understand what is expected of each other to foster optimal achievement of all students;

During my student teaching experience, my upper-level Spanish class had lowered expectations for themselves and our learning environment.  They expected Spanish to be fun and not challenging, but I wished to challenge them.  They were accustomed to Spanish involving only playing games, and minimal effort; however, I expected more of them, and soon they started to expect more of themselves.  Although students complained and groaned at the beginning, they began to progress more quickly and developed more confidence in their speaking and writing.


d. Design and implement a classroom management plan that utilizes respectful disciplinary techniques to ensure a safe and orderly learning environment, (e.g., instructional procedures utilizing the concepts presented in the State Board of Education’s Positive Behavior Support Policy 2006), which is conducive to learning and takes into account diverse needs of individual students;

During my student teaching I had a pair of particularly disrespectful and disruptive students.  At the beginning of the issue, I followed through with disciplinary policies using in classroom punishment, but after learning their behavior was not just a problem in my classroom, I worked with my colleagues in order to discuss these issues with parents and implement a better disciplinary plan.  With other students I have made phone calls home and sent e-mails in order to maintain a pleasant classroom and foster individual student’s learning.

e. Understand and uphold the legal and ethical responsibilities of teaching (e.g., federal and state laws and SBE policies pertaining to positive and effective learning environments, appropriate behavioral interventions, student retention, truancy, child abuse, safety, first aid, health, and communicable disease);

During my student teaching, I encountered one student with self-harming habits. After asking if the student wanted to discuss their problems, I immediately  referred the student to the counselor so that they could receive proper care from a professional in order to prevent any other problems.

f. Use a variety of teaching methodologies and techniques (e.g., lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, cooperative learning, small-group activities, and technology-enhanced lessons), and objectively assess the effectiveness of various instructional approaches and teacher actions for impact on student learning;

During the course of my regular teaching, I use a multitude of activities to teach students.  For vocabulary and grammar lessons, I have used PowerPoint presentations, group projects, student-led direction, vocabulary and grammar games, among other techniques in order to teach students the require curriculum.  By keeping the activities varied and by using technological resources, I am able to keep students’ interest and reach different types of learners.

g. Establish a learning environment which invites/welcomes collaborative teaching practices; and

Throughout the course of my student-teaching I used many collaborative teaching practices.  In addition to conferencing and working with my mentor teacher, I also sought out other teachers and professionals in the building for advice.  When working with other teachers, the matters usually regarded discipline and helping students get on the right track, but by working with other teachers, we were able to increase student performance in classes and help them succeed.

h. Differentiate between assessment and evaluation procedures and use appropriately.


Before each test I give, I go through a review process with students.  By giving them review materials similar to that of the test, I am able to evaluate what needs to be reviewed further before we move on to assessment.  In addition, this sort of evaluation helps me pinpoint weak spots in students’ learning and helps me address them before they become larger problems.


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