About the Interviewee Shayla Barber grew up in West Texas and received her kinesiology degree from the University of North Texas. She coached college-level basketball for a couple of years before deciding to get her alternative certification to teach. She has taught GT English, regular English, and social studies within the middle school grade levels and coached at the middle and high school levels. She was recently promoted at her middle school in Mesquite ISD to Athletic Coordinator.
What does learner-centered mean to you? How will you ensure this takes place during your observation in particular?
How will you provide a variety of activities during your lesson? How would you ensure that students have a smooth transition between the different activities within a class period?
What would you do to redirect a student without redirecting the entire class’s attention? What consequences will you have in place for students that refuse to follow your directions?
How will provide feedback to the students? What systems will you have in place to ensure this occurs on a daily basis?
How will you analyze, record, and change your instruction based on assessment results? How will you share this information with your students?
Ms. Barber establishes and posts rules and procedures in her class and re-directs her students when not following directions. You can even involve your students in setting the rules and decide on the three to five most important rules for your classroom. I also recommend posting tiered consequences.
Ms. Barber emphasized changing activities often to prevent students from becoming disengaged. For example, you might have a five minute independent warm-up, a 10 minute introductory lecture, a 20 minute group activity, and a 10 minute discussion on what they learned.
Ms. Barber recommends 30 hours of professional development a year. This will keep you on track to get your certificate renewed, which requires 150 hours in five years. As she mentioned, you will have plenty of opportunity in most districts to receive this training at no cost to you. Some days may be built into the calendar as in-service days but expect to spend a few Saturdays and/or summer days, as well. You’ll most likely have more than enough hours if you attend everything that is required/recommended by your district or campus.
Ms. Barber advocates positive reinforcement and praise. Try to set a daily goal for yourself for giving such praise, as it can be easy to get too focused on trying to get through the material and forgetting to acknowledge their little successes. This will help you build relationships and will be something your observer will be looking for, as well. You can also build-in systems for praise, such as a student of the week or good job coupons or stickers that can accumulate for prizes.
“…give them praise when they are following the procedures and rules…once you give them praise, they’re more likely to follow the procedures and rules the rest of the year.”
“You should lecture for as long as their age. For instance, if they’re twelve, you want to lecture for twelve minutes-max.”
“Keep your parents updated, whether it’s positive or negative.”
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UTA's Teacher Induction, University of Texas at Arlington