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General professional development  reflection activities (chapter 14 activities)

Page history last edited by Richard Beach 11 months, 2 weeks ago



In becoming a teacher, you need to realize that you are becoming a member of a profession.  As a member of a profession, you can benefit from the many professioal development opportunities provided to you by national, state, and local organizations.  This includes journals, newsletters, and websites, as well as conferences and workshops.  At the same time, these organizations need your support through your becoming a member and your participation through attending conferrences and workshops.  Investigate the professional development organizations available to you, for example, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) as well as local NCTE state affliate organizations, the International Reading Association (IRA) and its local state affliates, the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), as well as other organizations.  Also investigate the professional development workshops provided by the district in which you are completing your student teaching or your teacher education program (see lists of organization under this chapter’s links).




During your teacher education program and your student teaching, it is important that you learn to share your reflections on the many challenges you face in becoming a teacher.  It is often useful to be able to share your reflections with some supportive peers or a mentor who can provide you with some feedback and support, as well as share their own experiences.  In sharing these concerns, it is important to avoid making judgmental statements related to what peers should or should not do to address problems, as opposed to providing them with descriptive feedback to encourage them to reflect on reasons for their problems leading to formulation of solutions to address problems.  It is important important that you seek out and provide affective support through praising instances of success or empathizing with instances of difficulty or stress.


It is useful to meet on a regular basis with peers to share concerns.   One option to physical meetings is to meet online through creating a group listserv or blog.  You and your group of peers can create a blog using the free software, Blogger (www.blogger.com).  You can also link your blog to other teacher blogs (see the chapter links) to access veteran teachers’ perspectives.


School Tales: Online Research and Repository Initiative (STORRI) stories of “wobble” that teachers tell about the complexity of contemporary classrooms




Why Making Time for Reflection Matters: 5 Ideas to Try. Getting Smart


Reflect on your strengths and areas to work on.  As part of developing your portfolio, reflect on your strengths and areas to work on based on the following criteria derived from the NCATE standards used to evaluate teacher education programs:


Standard 1. Subject Matter

Your knowledge and understanding of:


- different authors, literary periods, genres, and characteristics of American, British, and World literature.

-  the concepts of transactional theory of reader-response, different critical lenses (Marxist, feminist, deconstruction, poststructuralist), inquiry-based instruction, critical discourse analysis, positioning, dialogic interaction, genre analysis, persona, point of view, intertextuality, and hypertextuality, as well as ways to develop instructional activities based on these concepts.

- applications of different reader-response and critical lenses to analysis of texts, and ways to devise activities to foster student response and application of critical lenses. 

- inquiry-based approaches to helping students address issues and questions portrayed in literature based on their experiences of these issues and questions in lived-world experiences.

- ways of combining social-studies/ethnographic analysis of social worlds in lived-world contexts to analysis of social worlds portrayed in literature.


Standard 2.  Student Learning

Your ability to:


- devise response and critical analysis activities based on your understanding of:

- students’ ways of responding to literature and application of their experiences to understanding literature.

- students ability to use certain interpretive strategies and genre knowledge for understanding literary texts.

- students’ acquisition of “point-driven” stances involved in inferring symbolic meanings of texts.

- scaffold students learning by modeling uses of interpretive strategies and critical lenses

- foster transfer of  students’ knowledge and experience from lived-world contexts to their interpretations of literature.


Standard 3.  Diverse Learners

Your ability to:


- critically examine literary portrayals of racist, sexist, and class-biased beliefs and attitudes and ways to foster critical analysis of such beliefs and attitudes.

- appreciate the value and importance of teaching multicultural literature as a means of providing students with a range of different cultural perspectives.

- identity developmental differences in students’ ability to interpret literature and devise instructional activities that accommodate for those developmental differences.

- identity variations in students’ learning styles/differences and vary assignments that accommodate for those differences.


Standard 4.  Instructional Strategies

Your ability to:


- draw on state standards in developing objectives and criteria for assessing student learning in literature units.

- devise lesson plans and units that draw on a range of different reading, writing, and drama tools designed to foster students critical thinking, self-assessing, and revision.

- select a range of different types of texts that foster intertextual connections between texts in terms of similar topics, themes, issues, and genre features.

- vary the selection of tools in terms students’ ability and developmental levels.

- include modeling and scaffolding of concepts and critical stances.


Standard 5.  Learning Environment

Your ability to:


- formulate learning objectives for use in devising relevant activities designed to achieve those objectives

- developed response activities based on students’ interest in certain literary and media texts

- create discussion groups, cooperative-learning activities, and drama activities based on knowledge of social practices operating in small-group interactions.

- use dialogue-journal, drama, and group-process activities to foster peer-learning.

- help students learn to adopt critical stances in responding to literature and the media.


Standard 6.  Communication

Your ability to:


- understand the influence of cultural knowledge and models, as well as an gender differences, on literary responses and reading interests.

- understand and foster verbal and nonverbal interactions in facilitating literature discussions.

- generate open-ended questions designed to encourage students’ use of higher-order thinking and divergent responses to literature.

- ways of developing small-group discussions of literature using “literature circles” techniques.

- use online chat sites to foster discussions of literature and related topics.

- recognize cultural differences shaping students’ nonverbal and verbal participation in discussions.

- use writing and media-texts as pre-discussion tools.

- help students learn to critically analyze language use and discourses in texts reflecting certain attitudes, perspectives, and ideological orientations.


Standard 7.  Instructional Planning

Your ability to:


- draw on theories of learning interpretive strategies and critical lenses to devise guided response activities and literature units.

- draw on notions of “first-things-first” sequencing of activities; use of writing, talk, and drama tools; instructional scaffolding and modeling; accommodations for individual differences in learning ability and disabilities to devise lesson plans and units.

- draw on knowledge of students’ grade level, prior knowledge, needs, reading ability, reading interests, and cultural attitudes to devise units that would appeal to a certain group of students.

- draw on knowledge of state standards and the school’s curriculum standards/expectations to devise literature units.

- devise guided response activities for use in micro-teaching activities.

- reflect on positive and negative aspects of your teaching in micro-teaching in order to revise your original plans to address limitations in one’s instruction.


Standard 8. Assessment

Your ability to:


- consider issues of validity and reliability in literature tests and assessments, including the limitations of multiple choice tests.

- devise criteria and rubrics consistent with the learning objectives for a particular lesson plan or unit.

- employ informal writing and talk tools to determine differences in students’ level of literary interpretation.

- incorporate self-assessment prompts and criteria in guided literature assignments.

- provide “reader-based” written and oral feedback to students in terms of their ability to employ interpretive strategies and critical lenses.

- devise reading-interests inventories to determine students’ reading preferences and interests.

- understand and use information about students’ reading tests scores on school and state standardized reading tests to make decisions about students’ ability levels.

- employ portfolios for use in fostering student collection of relevant response documents and self-reflection of growth in learning literature during a unit or course.

- provide feedback to students on their written essays and portfolios based on criteria and rubrics; communicate this feedback to parents through class letters/newsletters and/or parent conferences.


Standard 9. Reflection and Professional Development

Your ability to:


- reflect on and assess your performance in micro-teaching activities and in work with students in schools to improve your teaching.

- define practices and expectations associated with being a professional, including participation in professional development activities and reading journals from the National Council of Teachers of English and/or the International Reading Association.

- observe teachers’ classroom discussion strategies and compare those strategies with your own strategies.

- draw on resources and materials available online and in the school as well as your cooperating teacher and other teachers in your school for use in planning instruction.

- develop an e-folio for use in collecting documents designed to demonstrate your ability as a profession and to foster reflection on your professional development.


Standard 10.  Collaboration, Ethics, and Relationships

Your ability to:


- share and collaborate with peers and colleagues to reflect on your teaching, curriculum planning, and professional development.

- adopt a code of ethics related to assuming the role of a teacher

- establish positive working relationships with students, colleagues, and other professionals

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