Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inquiry Celebration

I found the celebration of inquiry much more meaningful my second year. I was looking for things I could implement in my intern year of teaching. Furthermore, I feel like I had a much greater appreciation for the work the interns put into their research compared to when I was viewing this research as a tutor. I now know that I'm one year away from presenting my own research. I found the three intern presentations I viewed on mathematics instruction to be particularly interesting. One of the presenters was an intern from my PDS. He talked about the use of tools and manipulatives for mathematics instruction. He was implementing these tools at an 8th grade level. His studies found that the vast majority of students enjoyed the use of these tools and found them helpful. I would definitely consider the use of tools for my mathematics instruction next semester. I hope to instill the same enthusiasm for math that I myself feel with my 5th graders. I really want to have engaging and meaningful mathematics instruction, especially because tomorrow's jobs will require this knowledge. Overall, I think I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to conduction my own research next semester. I would strongly consider doing something mathematics related myself. However, one of the interns presenting data on mathematics instructional techniques mentioned that math was a subject he wasn't comfortable in but he decided to conduct his research in that field anyways. I think next year could provide a good opportunity to reach out of my comfort zone with my research.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Characteristics of a Novice Teacher

Characteristic 2: Effective Communication To me, effective communication as a teacher has multiple components: effective communication with parents, effective communication with other teachers, and effective communication with students. In order to effectively communicate with parents, you can send home letters to parents. These letters should have appropriate professional language and should be informative and concise. It's important to keep parents posted on major happenings in the classroom, but to not overdo it to the point that they get in the habit of just immediately throwing up anything sent home with students. In order to communicate effectively with other teachers you should send emails and should also attend meetings with other teachers. I know that at my PDS, each grade has all of the teachers meet during planning time at least once a week to share ideas and give advice. To communicate effectively with students, you should conduct interviews to get any idea of prior knowledge and you should set time aside to get to know your students on a personal level. Characteristic 9: Human Diversity Understanding and respecting human diversity is an important characteristic of the novice teacher. Respecting diversity means to be culturally sensitive when teaching, culturally relevant, and understanding of student cultural differences. Respecting diversity can be modifying a lesson plan or means of assessment for an ELL student. I know that in my current classroom, we have an ELL student whom we read directions aloud for and pay special attention to to make sure he isn't lost or falling behind. You can also make an effort to recognize and highlight what makes your students different in your classroom. This is especially evident at a PDS at North, at which many students are first generation Americans. These students and their parents have a wealth of knowledge about their culture that you can ask them to share with the rest of the class. The diversity of a classroom should be made into a learning experience for all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Characteristics of a Novice Teacher

Characteristic one: Lifelong Learning To me, a commitment to lifelong learning means always seeking out new information about teaching, new methods of teaching, and continuously revising and reforming your current teaching methods. In order for students to learn the most from your teaching, you need to constantly dedicate time to learn more about teaching as you progress through your career. One way to do this is to read academic journals and articles about education. These journals can serve as a primary source of information about the latest and newest trends in teaching. The reading of these articles allows a teacher to learn what techniques are deemed effective and ineffective according to research. A teacher could also search academic journals for information about a strategy they already use and see if there is a research-backed way for them to modify and improve upon their teaching. Lifelong learning means keeping up to date with the latest research on teaching and taking the lessons learned from said research to change classroom practice. Characteristic two: Reflective A good novice teacher is reflective. This means that they are constantly analyzing and reflecting upon their own teaching and the student learning that occurs as a result. A reflective teacher looks back a lessons and determines what worked and what could have gone better. This reflection allows for the teacher to make changes and avoid making the same mistakes twice. Reflection also allows a teacher to figure out what teaching strategies work for which students and how to better teach each individual student. A good way to be a reflective teacher is to keep a journal. In the Benedum program, we are required to keep a journal and write an entry for every day in our PDS. While at times this can seem tedious, it is a worthwhile investment of time because it allows us to learn more from our teaching experiences. Reflecting upon how our lessons go is of particular importance now because we are just learning how to teach. It is important to take a look back at the lessons after we have taught them so we can get a better idea of what worked and what we would/should do differently next time. Constantly reflecting upon past successes and failures allows us to accelerate our learning as novice teachers.