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Morgan Christenson

Philosophy of Teaching

The Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards were

created to help better teachers. Not only do these standards provide the ‘big picture’ of what

should be accomplished, but they also provide clear and specific anticipated outcomes. Of the ten

standards addressed, some discuss learner development, learning differences, content knowledge,

application of content, and assessment. As an educator, I will be able to look to these standards

to better assist the next generation of learners.

InTASC Standard 1 is important, because it takes into consideration the needs and

interests of an individual student. Making connections to everyday life is a great way for students

to learn and remember content taught in the school, so my goal as a teacher is to relate school

and life and interests outside of school. In order to do this, I will need to make connections early,

and one way this can be done is by completing a ‘get to know you’ activity where students write

their interests and hobbies down. With this information, I can create my lesson to integrate the

interests of my class. For instance, if a good majority of the class likes dogs and cats, I can select

books to read that are about dogs and cats and do a science lesson that teaches the class about

mammals. With this method, I will be able to teach the class vital information and keep their

interest which will help each one of my students learn.

Learning Differences, the second InTASC Standard, is essential because it emphasizes

the importance of adapting lessons to each student’s needs. There are many different learning

styles, and as the teacher, it will be important that my lessons coincide with a variety of different

styles. For example, some students have great mathematical and logical learning styles, but

others are more visual learners. My job will be to fit both of those styles in a math lesson and
make sure that each student understands the content. For the visual learner, I will make sure to

include manipulatives and graphs into the lesson, and for the logical learner it would be

beneficial to incorporate mental math that challenges the student. By understanding this standard,

I will be able to create an inclusive learning environment in my classroom that allows for all

students to learn.

InTASC Standard 3 is important, because it focuses on the importance of having learning

environments in which students feel safe and ready to learn. It is a bit obvious that teaching

subjects such as mathematics, reading, and science are all important, but equally important is

providing a classroom atmosphere in which each student feels comfortable. One article covered

this well by stating; ‘A positive environment is one in which students feel a sense of belonging,

trust others, and feel encouraged to tackle challenges, take risks, and ask questions’ (Bucholz &

Sheffler, 2009). By creating a classroom that encourages positivity, students are exposed to a

better learning opportunity. In my classroom, I will make sure that all students have an

opportunity to voice their opinions by using things like calling sticks. I will also work to

knowing each of my students and making an investment into their lives. Encouraging a positive

learning environment is a very important concept that will be integrated in my classroom.

As a teacher, it will be my responsibility to understand the content knowledge I will be

teaching. Throughout my college career, I have taken a variety of different Liberal Arts Courses,

all of which will be crucial to my teaching position. I will incorporate the concepts I have learned

in these classes to my own classroom. To do so, it will be important to use the academic

language that will be most beneficial to my students. Having an understanding of what my

students know or do not know will help me to build lessons around what will help each student

learn best.
Technology is a great way to be aware of events that are occurring globally. Using online

resources, I will encourage my students to be informed about what is happening in different parts

of the world. There are a variety of ways this can be accomplished: through e-pals, an e-mail

version of pen pals, by creating a WebQuest, listening to podcasts, and even by creating a

classroom blog to share news from our classroom. These processes all help to encourage 21st

Century Skills by incorporating technology into the actual lesson. Students will not be using

technology only after the main lesson is done, instead, technology will be included throughout

the lesson.

Assessments vary greatly from one another, and as a teacher, I will appropriately

incorporate the best assessment for my students. Using formative assessments during lessons will

allow me to see how well students are understanding a given concept. I especially think

naturalistic observation is beneficial, because the students are often unaware any assessment is

taking place. Observation also allows the students to be in charge of their own learning, while

my job will be to encourage deeper thinking, help get students back on the right track if

necessary, and use this information I gain to help shape what will be taught next. Summative

assessments also come in a variety of different formats, from tests, portfolios, and presentations

to self and peer-reviews. As a teacher, I will work hard to vary my assessments so all students

can succeed in demonstrating what they have learned.

Standard 7 is critical for effective teaching, because it focuses on not only knowing the

content being taught, but knowing how to teach it to each individual student. By having a solid

foundation of the standards and content being taught, I will be able to better help my students.

Through knowing my students and how they best learn, I can assist each student to master the

standards and content. One article that I found to be especially relevant to this standard is one
that discusses shared planning (Hansel). By pooling together every teachers knowledge around

certain content, the lessons and subsequent learning will be that much greater. In my classroom, I

will spend time preparing each lesson, making sure I not only have the content mastered, but

know how to best teach it to my students.

Student content mastery is the main goal of classrooms. If students know and understand

the content, it was a successful school year. The only way to be assured that students have the

content mastered is through assessment. This can look very different, as it does not simply have

to be a big test at the end of the unit. My classroom will have diagnostic, formative, and

summative assessments, so I will know when my students have mastered a concept. It is

important to vary the types of assessment in order to monitor student progress throughout the

unit (Ebert). Assessment is not an end of the unit test anymore, it is much more than that.

INTASC Standard 9 focuses on the importance of teachers continuing their education

after they have graduated college. In order for teachers to be effective educators, they need to

know the best teaching practices, which is achieved through attending professional development

seminars, taking college courses, and researching. As a teacher, I will attend seminars, take

college courses that will improve my teaching, and follow up to date practices for teaching.

Edutopia stated in their online article that; ‘an inspiring and informed teacher is the most

important school-related factor influencing student achievement’ (edutopia). This is done

through continuing education. I have already attended a STEM conference in Des Moines, and

the annual literacy conference hosted at UNI. These experiences have given me a view into why

they are so important for future teachers. Not only are they a great way to learn about better

practices to incorporate into the classroom, they also provide a great networking opportunity

with other teachers.

As the lead teacher in my classroom, it is my job to have a responsibility for my students

learning. It is also critical to go outside of the classroom and collaborate with other adults who

interact with students to increase learning. In my Level III Field Experience, my teacher was the

leader of the room, making sure that each student was engaged in the lesson and learning what

was expected of them. She also brought in other professionals to the classroom – experts in a

specific topic. For example, in a unit over animals, my Level III teacher brought in a father of

one student who works for the DNR. This is a professional outside of the class who adds to

learner growth. I will use this in my future classroom by bringing in professionals outside of the

classroom, discussing with other adults throughout the school, and holding responsibility of

student growth.

Through these standards, I will be able to prepare my students for college or their future

career. My goal is to be able to give students autonomy in their learning and truly take ownership

of what they know and are able to do. Through technology and real world problems, my students

will push for higher standards of learning for themselves and from this will be able to succeed

both in and out of the classroom.