3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

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Figure 1

To demonstrate knowledge of students, a teacher should recognize the value of understanding students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and use this to inform instruction in class. During my internship, I have made efforts to use knowledge of my students to inform planning and differentiate instruction for groups of students. For example, there are two ELL students in my class who are at a level 1 in reading English. To assist their learning, I have created numerous picture vocabulary charts to go with specific units in class, and have implemented the Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM) to assist in student writing. Figure 1 shows an example of a partially completed PWIM chart, used in our science reading about biomes. Research has shown that using the inductive model so that students search for patterns and infer meanings is highly effective for building ELL students’ vocabulary (Calhoun, 1999). This shows that I understand the importance of knowing my students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency and I am using this knowledge to aid my students in their learning. By creating models such as the PWIM, I have been practicing and testing the usefulness of these in my classroom. I have seen the effectiveness of PWIM in class, and how working with the patterns found in pictures helps students build vocabulary and content knowledge. I have learned that using my knowledge of what my students can and can’t do really helps to guide thinking while working with the PWIM. My understanding of how this knowledge is helpful to my students really benefits them in their learning. I have noticed clearer writing and speaking relating to a topic, as well as a higher understanding of the content. My ELL students use the tools they are provided with and the PWIM to organize their thoughts in English. Without knowing what they know and can do, the models and tools I create for students aren’t effective. In the future, I will learn more about various strategies that can be used for other subgroups in my class to improve instruction for all students and not just one group.

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