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Theme 1:

Explore the dynamic nature of the teaching and learning process

Aristotle’s statement “Teaching is the higher form of understanding,” reminds us of the important interaction between teaching and learning. In a multicultural world, teaching and learning occur in many settings and are influenced by developmental, social, linguistic, and personality variables. Utilizing multiple differentiated instructional strategies, implementing authentic assessment approaches, reflecting on the success of each learning experience, and developing a deep understanding of developmentally appropriate practices all contribute to the success of the teaching and learning process.

Faculty utilize varied instructional approaches and involve students in constructing their own understanding of their skills and abilities as learners and as teachers. Case studies, observations, simulations, and readings provide opportunities for analysis and discussion and promote growth. Participation in P-12 settings through authentic field experience facilitates the development of knowledge and skills needed to address the learning needs of diverse populations. Careful planning and reflection on observation and assessment data, and the ability to take risks and try new approaches, support the growth of successful teachers who are lifelong learners.

In order to demonstrate their understanding of this theme:

Candidates need to know

  • Student developmental characteristics and background
  • Appropriate content and associated pedagogy
  • Developmentally appropriate practices
  • Strategies for planning lessons, units, assessments
  • Strategies for assessing student learning and using this data for future planning

So that they will be able to

  • Plan appropriate lessons with clear goals, objectives, and assessments
  • Implement a wide variety of appropriate activities
  • Utilize assessments that are aligned with goals
  • Create an environment of respect and rapport in the classroom
  • Manage classroom routines
  • Guide and manage student behavior
  • Engage students in learning
  • Utilize technology to enhance student learning

The dispositions that will help candidates achieve these goals include

  • Flexibility and responsiveness
  • Curiosity and inquisitiveness
  • Willingness to take risks and work hard
  • Willingness to accept and utilize feedback
  • Reflection

The impact on student learning will be

  • Instruction that is appropriate to student level and need
  • Appropriate assessments that guide further teaching and learning