Regarding Curriculum and Instruction
I believe that curriculum should be carefully selected to match the academic content for each grade level and that instruction should be based on means to facilitate and/or accelerate student learning.
I believe this because during my professional career, working at different grade levels from K – 5th grade, I have observed how important it is to have effective learning targets in all grade levels. I am particularly pleased with the new Common Core curriculum because I believe that it will fill the gap; that critical thinking piece that was missing in our old curriculum standards.
We are in a transitioning phase from State Standards to Common Core. To minimize the impact of these changes, teachers have to use their analytical abilities to understand the new curriculum and their best teaching skills to deliver lessons that align with the new material. We are working with a curriculum that is still a work in progress with many undefined details. Teachers are facing the challenge of making the curriculum comprehensive for their students and to fill all those gaps necessary to scaffold their way to teach at grade level. The objective is to get students ready to undertake the next grade level curriculum by the end of this school year.
Issues/aspects of curriculum and instruction:
For example: Formulating Meaningful input for students, students reaching the right level of maturity to fully understand the subjects being taught, Adjusting to the proper level of difficulty at all grade levels, Vertical and horizontal alignment such that all teachers are focusing on a common developing goal.
And Curriculum adoptions (materials aligned with district goals)
I’d like to talk about: Vertical and horizontal alignment.
Explain your example: Based on my personal experience as a teacher in a program that demands a great deal of collaboration; I find that vertical and horizontal alignment are important factors that guarantee students growth and success. Prior to my fist experience as a kinder teacher, I had taught first and second grade for a couple of years. With my knowledge of second grade curriculum criteria, and based on the Kinder goals, I had set the expectations for my students. Having a specific end in mind helped me bring my students closer to their final goal and strong enough to have a successful first grade. My knowledge of first and second grade curriculum helped me make a conscious effort to meet or surpass the skills necessary for their success in the subsequent years. In my current position, horizontal alignment has helped all teachers in our team to calibrate accordingly, to keep up with the pacing, and to stay focused in meeting curriculum goals to ensure that we are covering all the essential components for our grade level.
Regarding Parent and Community Involvement
I believe that student’s performance is directly affected by parent involvement and that schools should interchangeably support public events and be considered part of the community.
I believe this because I have seen a clear pattern taking form during the ten years I have been in the classroom. Our school is well known for having an outstanding ratio of parent participation and it is clear that those students, whose parents show interest in their education, display more interest in their academic performance, exhibit higher levels of achievement, and participate more in extracurricular activities involving the community. This leads to fostering a better learning environment in which students feel like school is an inviting place to learn.
Issues/aspects of Parent and Community Involvement:
For example: Attendance, minimizing drop out rates, motivation and incentives to stay in school, community as the bridge to make connections between learning and real life situations, welcoming/inviting environment.
And seeing schools as safe and cohesive places for children.
I’d like to talk about: Advantages of parent involvement in schools.
Explain your example: One of the advantages of having a strong support from parents and the community is that schools can extend their activities to teach students about other disciplines such as citizenship, life skills, health and wellbeing, or to help them participate and be more involved in their community events such as county fairs, parades, to name some. Students whose parents are more aware of the events that take place in schools are also better informed about programs and classes offered to help students who may need that extra support to succeed in class. It is a win-win situation. Parents send a clear message to their own children that education is important and that they are supportive. In the same way, all students benefit from their support because they help bring more funds to our schools by organizing fundraisers, events and contributing their time and skills to help all students and become positive role models.
Regarding Discipline and School Culture/Climate
I believe that it is important to identify the discipline problems and to establish a new culture that supports positive behavior that is targeted and consistent for all students.
I believe this because every school faces different discipline issues. Discipline is one of the biggest challenges in the school system. When the real problem is overlooked and not addressed, the disciplinary issues continue to occur. Aside from implementing and enforcing rules, schools should have a support system that includes counseling. Students need to learn and identify acceptable behavior practices.
Issues/aspects of discipline and school culture/climate:
For example Discipline takes an important role in learning, It is important to have a plan of action and regulations in place. Rules need to be consistent and fair. Students need to see clear consequences, rules need to be enforced by all staff. Schools should have: a democratic environment, respect, an inviting welcoming climate.
And Build a community of leaders.
I’d like to talk about: How engagement improves students’ discipline.
Explain your example: I have been in a classroom for eight years and it is a known fact that engagement plays a very important role in learning. I have seen many teachers claim that their students are fully engaged because they keep themselves busy and follow the teacher’s directions. Somehow, to me, it did not quite seems like there was much learning happening in those classes. As much as students may seem busy in class they may not be completely engaged and they may start having disciplinary issues. I have learned that engagement plays a very important role in discipline and that students are most likely to behave when they understand and follow the lessons and perform just as well as the rest of the class.
I believe that: Education should focus on teaching students 21st century skills.
I believe this because the students themselves are already manifesting the demand to learn 21st century skills. Students are already using the networks to learn more about the skills they need to interact in the digital communities. There is an urgent need for school to produce responsible technology literate students. Today’s elementary students are carrying the new trend of the digital era where skills such as planning, critical thinking, creativity, and digital citizenship are going to be essential to subsist. As difficult as it is to predict what kind of jobs will emerge, we could at least attempt to prepare students with talents that will offer strong communication skills, cross cultural understanding, manipulation and analysis of data, and decision-making.
Issues/aspects of Technology
For example: How to use and manipulate ready available resources, taking advantage of technology to increase students’ engagement, how technology allows students to access to most up to date information, how teachers take more a role of facilitator, technology as an extension of the classroom, enabling students to be in control of their own learning and promoting self initiative, advantages of providing more resources that are less costly.
And the ability to provide differentiated instruction to all students with special needs.
I’d like to talk about: Selecting the appropriate learning tools.
Explain your example: When I started my teaching career I remember taking a technology class in which we had to create a rubric about how to select software to supplement our teaching using computers for our students. It is really exciting to learn that I am doing something very similar, except now, we are focusing on using Web 2.0. The criteria, on selecting technology are basically the same; except that now we need to make sure to include an interactive component. It is important to ensure that the technological component really targets the desired goal. Many times the desired outcome gets overlooked or never reached by the students. Interaction and feedback is also an important factor to consider, we need to include a tool that allow s students to exchange ideas such as a blog or an interactive website with a discussion board in encouraging students to participate on a discussion relevant to the subjects. Just as important as selecting the right technological tool and to encourage students to participate, we need to be able to keep track or monitor the effectiveness of the technology used. This could ensure that the engagement and the learning are really happening among students.
NEA Policy Brief. Web. 17 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB11_ParentInvolvement08.pdf>.
SecurEdge Networks. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <http://www.securedgenetworks.com/strategy-blog/10-Reasons-Today-s-Students-NEED-Technology-in-the-Classroom>.
Horner, R., & Sugai, G. (n.d.). School - wide Positive Behavior Support. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://media.esc14.net/ctl/lspraggins/Schoolwide/Assement Tools Surveys/PBIS Survey and tools/SchoolWidePBS08.pdf