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; During my pre-student teaching experience, I designed and taught a 13-lesson Unit Plan.  I included the time estimates for my lessons, which can be seen here. .
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; As part of my Action Research Project during my student teaching experience, I examined how positive behavior in students can be promoted both in and out of classroom settings.  One of the goals of this project was to increase positive student interactions.
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; In my student teaching class, I always students informed of the expectation requirements of their work, especially during independent work time such as during math.  Students knew that they would have sufficient time to finish the assignment and to ask for help if they needed it during period.
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; The topic that I explored for my Action Research Project during my student teaching experience was how to promote student positive student behavior in all school settings through the use of self-reflection.  I adjusted the current behavioral system put in place by my mentor teacher to better meet the needs of this class and their dynamic personality and needs.  The first part of my Action Research Project can be found here.
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); As I student teacher, I took part in several different situations where I upheld my responsibilities as a teacher.  I taught a Health unit that’s purpose was to inform students of personal safety both at school and at home.
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; I implemented and evaluated many kinds of teaching methodologies and techniques into my student teaching Showcase Unit Plan.  After each lesson, I reflected on how the students responded to the various approaches, how they responded to the lesson’s material and how they responded to myself as the teacher.
g. Establish a learning environment which invites/welcomes collaborative teaching practices; and During the second month of my student teaching experience, I invited the principal to observe one of my writing lessons.  Afterwards, we discussed strengths of the lesson and ways to change it for the next time I taught it.
h. Differentiate between assessment and evaluation procedures and use appropriately. For part of my student teaching Showcase Unit Plan, I included both assessments and evaluations throughout its entirety.

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