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.

Reflecting on the Effectiveness of Instruction

2.3 Reflecting on Teaching

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Figure 1

During my classes and internship, I have come to realize the importance of reflecting on the effectiveness of a lesson and how effective it was in achieving the desired outcomes. I had the opportunity to teach the same art lesson three times and adapt my lesson based on feedback from the previous lessons. Figure 1 shows an example of student work from the first lesson, while Figure 2 shows an example from the second lesson. The objectives of the lesson were for students to use space and color effectively, and use the shapes found in Pacific

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Figure 2

Northwest Coast Native American art. By comparing Figure 1 and Figure 2, it is easy to see how the objectives of the lesson were more clearly met in lesson two, where I adapted my lesson to specifically state these objectives and reiterate them throughout the lesson. I had also provided students with drawing aids to share in pairs rather than a single drawing aid on the board. After reflecting on the second lesson and why it had better results, I was able to make the third lesson even more successful in terms of reaching the objectives. I can apply this to lessons I don’t re-teach as well, by reflecting on the effectiveness of my instruction and using it to make changes to the way I teach or interact with students. By reflecting on my teaching, my students will benefit from a richer experience, and one that is planned well. When reflecting on my instruction in the future, it will be important for me to reflect also on how the students reacted, and what worked well for them so that I can apply that knowledge to all subjects (and not just the same lesson).