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What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do

What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do 32
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Published Date:17-07-2017
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What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do TEACHERS ARE COMMITTED TO STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING TEACHERS KNOW THE SUBJECTS THEY TEACH AND HOW TO TEACH THOSE SUBJECTS TO STUDENTS TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING AND MONITORING STUDENT LEARNING TEACHERS THINK SYSTEMATICALLY ABOUT THEIR PRACTICE AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE TEACHERS ARE MEMBERS OF LEARNING COMMUNITIESTHE FIVE CORE PROPOSITIONS 1. TEACHERS ARE COMMITTED TO STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING. 2. TEACHERS KNOW THE SUBJECTS THEY TEACH AND HOW TO TEACH THOSE SUBJECTS TO STUDENTS. 3. TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING AND MONITORING STUDENT LEARNING. 4. TEACHERS THINK SYSTEMATICALLY ABOUT THEIR PRACTICE AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE. 5. TEACHERS ARE MEMBERS OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES. 1PREFACE PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION LEE S. SHULMANPREFACE Pundits are fond of saying that “necessity is the that would be neither a union nor a government mother of invention.” With the National Board as its agency. Suspending our sense of disbelief, I asked primary exemplar, I prefer to think that dreams are Gary Sykes—then a doctoral candidate at Stanford— the mothers of invention. Audacity and courage are to join in this act of creative thinking and writing. its siblings. We set out to imagine a new institution, owned and operated by America’s most accomplished teach- Early one morning in the late summer of 1985, I ers, designing standards and inventing forms of received a phone call from Marc Tucker, then staff assessment that had never existed before. director of the Carnegie Corporation’s Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. He asked if I could When we began to dream that dream and dis- prepare a report describing what a National Board cussed it with colleagues, our visions were initially for America’s teachers might look like in the unlikely dismissed as hallucinations, as fantasies without event that it could be created and sustained. It a needed grounding in reality. The very idea of became clear that such a feat would call for new treating teachers as true professionals with clear conceptions of teaching, utterly new technologies standards and the capacity to take responsibility of teacher testing and assessment and the creation for the quality of their own work seemed absurd of a new kind of non-governmental organization to many of our critics. While fields like medicine, 34 What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do law and architecture had developed such boards, even more accomplished as a teacher. Indeed, we teaching was a very different kind of work, perhaps urged that the ideal preparation for the assessment not even a real profession. be mentorship support from Board-certified teach - ers because of the promise this kind of coaching And if that idea were not sufficiently absurd, the process held for improving the quality of practice. insane notion of disdaining the “tried-and-true” meth- ods of testing and replacing them with alternatives As the National Board took shape, educators in that were closer to practice was deemed foolhardy. other countries took interest. The one assumption Indeed, when the vision of a portfolio-based assess- that many of us found most dic ffi ult to disabuse was ment that could be both pedagogically authentic that this activity had to be a government process, and psychometrically sound was put forward, even controlled and overseen by officials of departments some of our earlier supporters grew pale. or ministries of education. Our colleagues in other countries could not imagine that something this As we worked collaboratively with the first gen - ambitious, this pioneering, this expensive, and eration of teacher leaders who would ultimately having such a direct impact on national educational become the majority of the National Board’s board policy, could be led by a professional organization of directors, we also insisted that whatever assess- of teachers that was not controlled by national or ment method was used, it needed to show promise state governments. as a positive influence on the continuing profes - sional development of the teachers who elected to The original research and development effort I become candidates. Measurement precision was described took place between 1985 and 1990. not enough. If we were going to ask the nation’s During that period, the board as we know it was finest teachers to dedicate their limited time to the established. A great deal has happened since the development of a portfolio of their practice, that work began. When the number of NBCTs crossed process had to be educative for the teachers or it the 100,000 mark, it became clear our dream was would be a disservice to the profession. And if sup- no longer a fantasy, our ambitions no longer a port systems or coaching services were created to hallucination. help candidates perform at a higher level for their This seminal text is organized around a mantra that portfolios, that would be fine because the only way is by now well known in the teaching world. “What to do better on the assessment would be to become 5 Preface should teachers know and be able to do?” Hence, as teachers, might view our roles as professionals. the standards for accomplished teaching encom- Engineering students said, “As engineers we use pass both the habits of mind needed by outstanding math and the sciences to mess with the world by teachers—their knowledge, strategies, grasp of designing and making things that people will buy subject matter and understanding of developing and use…and once you mess with the world, you’re kids—and also their skills, the technical “habits responsible for the mess you’ve made.” of practice” that accomplished professionals in What then is a teacher? As teachers we use the every field of practice have honed and developed. many sources of professional knowledge, skill and Knowing and Doing are the hallmarks of deep pro- experience at our disposal to engage the minds fessional achievement. and hearts of children and youth by teaching and Nevertheless, in addition to knowing and doing, to inspiring them. And once we mess with minds and habits of mind and habits of practice, Board-certified hearts, we are prepared to take responsibility for teachers are also identified by habits of the heart, the messes we have made, the dreams we inspired, as the kinds of human beings whom we trust and the minds we have brought to life, the prejudices to whom we entrust the children of our communi- we have forestalled, and the society to which we ties. We trust them to use their knowledge and skills have given hope. for the benefit of their students, their communities, and their society. In its fullest form, as you read the And yet, there’s a deeper sense of what it means pages that follow, you will see that our characteriza- to take responsibility for the messes that we are tion of the accomplished teacher is defined by what destined, nay obligated, to make. We are obliged teachers should know and be able to do, as well as teachers to do everything we can to become what kind of human being they should strive to be. smarter about our subjects, our students, and our work, more skilled in the pursuit of our practice, and During a study of how America’s engineers should more ethical, self-aware and empathic as human be prepared, I asked a group of engineering stu- beings that our society trusts to mess with minds dents who were completing their undergraduate and hearts. The National Board exemplifies how we preparation how they would respond to someone’s as members of the professional teaching commu- question, “What is an engineer?” The response nity take that responsibility. they gave provides a useful reminder of how we, 6 What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do Thirty years passed. And thus, one morning in 2016, as adapted to the situations in which they taught I received an email from the new president and CEO was no longer a fantasy. The letters “NBCT” after a of the National Board for Professional Teaching teacher’s name is the highest honor a member of Standards suggesting we meet over breakfast in the profession can attain. Palo Alto. Peggy Brookins, a National Board-certi- “What” is the National Board for Professional Teach- fied teacher of high school mathematics, was now ing Standards? That is the question this brief volume president and CEO of the National Board for Pro- promises to answer. It’s a deceptively simple ques- fessional Teaching Standards, an organization that tion with exciting and inspiring answers that, at least has certified more than 112,000 teachers across all for me, extend back in time for 30 years. I am now 50 states and DC. Peggy asked if I would revisit confident that its life expectancy is unlimited, as is that newborn infant that began its life three decades its potential for bringing about a significant improve - ago and prepare a personal preface to this volume. ment in the countenance of American education. I revisited the dream. Teaching portfolios, for exam- ple, were no longer a weird anomaly destined to Lee S. Shulman be buried by traditional forms of assessment. The Emeritus Professor idea that teachers could be evaluated using profes- Stanford Graduate School of Education sional standards created by teachers, for teachers Palo Alto, CaliforniaBY TEACHERS, FOR TEACHERS INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTION The National Board for Professional Teaching Stan- are held in common by teachers of all grade levels dards was founded in 1987 to advance the quality and disciplines and underscore the accomplished of teaching and learning by: teacher’s commitment to advancing student learn- • maintaining high and rigorous standards for what ing and achievement. Together, the propositions accomplished teachers should know and be able form the basis of all National Board Standards, to do; which describe how teachers enact the Proposi- • providing a national voluntary system certifying tions in particular content areas and with students teachers who meet these standards; and of particular developmental levels, and serve as the • advocating related education reforms to inte- foundation for Board certification. National Board grate National Board Certification in American Certification—created by teachers, for teachers—is education and to capitalize on the expertise of the profession’s mark of accomplished teaching. National Board Certified Teachers. The explication of the Five Core Propositions in this This second edition of What Teachers Should Know edition of What Teachers Should Know and Be Able and Be Able to Do articulates the National Board’s to Do was updated in 2015 to reflect advances in Five Core Propositions for teaching. Similar to med- the field in research, professional language, and icine’s Hippocratic Oath, the Five Core Propositions practice. Remarkably, the Propositions themselves 89 Introduction have stood the test of time. The stability of the Five A distinguishing hallmark of a profession is that Core Propositions is an indication of the teaching those who are in it determine what its members profession’s ability to create and maintain a body of must know and do. For this reason, how these revi- knowledge that guides practice. Stylistic revisions sions took place is as important as the revisions were made to the explication of each proposition themselves. As is the case with all National Board to ensure the text resonates with modern ears, and Standards, the updated Five Core Propositions updates to the content include a stronger emphasis were written by teachers, for teachers. The Five on the roles that technology and language play in Core Propositions—in content and in authorship— students’ lives. are a statement of what our profession stands for. When What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do was first written in 1989, there were no National Board Certified Teachers. The Five Core Proposi - tions established in that document anchored the development of peer-reviewed standards and assessments for Board certification in 25 certifi - cate areas. As a testament to the strength of that visionary document, we can now say that over 700 Board-certified teachers contributed to the updated explication of the Five Core Propositions. They participated in the comment period, providing practice-based evaluations of the extent to which the descriptions of the Propositions have stood the test of time; they served on National Board’s staff, Certification Council, and Board of Directors, shepherding the revision process; and they made up the entirety of the committee that oversaw the revisions, basing their decisions on the comment period findings, research, and their considerable experience with students.THE FIVE CORE PROPOSITIONS Through National Board Certification, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards seeks to identify and recognize teachers who effectively enhance student learning and demonstrate the high level of knowledge, skills, abilities and commitments reflected in the following Five Core Propositions. 10THE FIVE CORE PROPOSITIONS 1. TEACHERS ARE COMMITTED TO STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING. 2. TEACHERS KNOW THE SUBJECTS THEY TEACH AND HOW TO TEACH THOSE SUBJECTS TO STUDENTS. 3. TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING AND MONITORING STUDENT LEARNING. 4. TEACHERS THINK SYSTEMATICALLY ABOUT THEIR PRACTICE AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE. 5. TEACHERS ARE MEMBERS OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES.PROPOSITION 1 Accomplished teachers base their practice on the social and educational settings, not simply within fundamental belief that all students can learn and their own learning environments. meet high expectations. Acknowledging the dis- tinctive traits and talents of each learner, teachers Teachers Recognize Individual Differences are dedicated to and skilled at making knowledge in Their Students and Adjust Their Practice accessible to all students. Educators are thus pas- Accordingly sionate about building meaningful relationships with Teachers must know many things about the stu- young people so students can advance their under- dents they instruct so they can respond effectively standing and experience success. Teachers know to individual differences. For instance, one teacher that ongoing achievement depends on their con- may find that in her class, Alex works with a speech viction in the value and dignity of all human beings pathologist, Maria loves science fiction, Toby is anx - as well as the potential that exists within each child. ious about mathematics, and Mikayla is captivated They therefore remain attentive to human variability, by music. Yet, accomplished teachers know much its influence on learning, and the interconnected - more about their students, such as where they ness of people in different contexts. Accomplished 1 call home, what their families are like, how they teachers become acquainted with students across 1 The terms “family” and “parent” are used throughout this document to refer to people who are the primary caregivers, guardians, or significant adults in the lives of children. 1213 Teachers are Committed to Students and Their Learning performed academically in the past, and who they prior knowledge. When planning a unit on genet- want to become in the future. Children and young ics, for instance, a biology instructor will anticipate adults live in a wide variety of physical locations and which concepts and activities certain students may household groups; to understand their hopes and find problematic; while listening to a small group, aspirations, educators must the teacher will then look for remain attuned to students’ signs of individual student unique living situations and engagement and address any Teachers must become “ family dynamics. misunderstandings as they attuned to their students’ arise. By keeping a finger on individual situations and Accomplished teachers fur- the pulse of the class, edu- changing circumstances. ther understand that student cators decide when to alter learning is influenced by per - plans, work with individual sonality—whether a student is shy or outgoing, students, or enrich instruction with additional exam- impulsive or reflective, stubborn or eager to please. ples, explanations, or activities. For example, a shy student might not perform well on an oral presentation. Similarly, an impulsive Recognizing that students bring different language student who fills in answers hastily may receive practices and proficiencies to the classroom, accom - standardized test results that do not truly reflect plished teachers also understand the complex role his or her knowledge. Accomplished educators that language plays in learning. For example, they take personality traits such as those into consider- respect the knowledge, perspectives, and experi- ation when interacting with students, planning for ences that English language learners possess and instruction, and interpreting assessments. That kind value the ways in which those factors can enhance of specific understanding is critical, for teachers use and strengthen the learning environment. Similarly, it constantly to tailor instruction for the individuals educators know that students use language dif- 2 within their classrooms. ferently based on social or academic context, and accomplished teachers empower their students by Teachers who are accomplished respond to student providing them with access points for participat- needs based on their pupils’ interests, abilities, and ing in various situations and occasions. Educators 2 All references to classrooms in this document, whether stated explicitly or not, refer to all educational settings (e.g., laborato- ries, gymnasiums, libraries, offices, outdoor locations).14 What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do explore opportunities to integrate diverse language deep understanding of their students and the com- practices meaningfully within the learning process. munities that shape their students’ values, outlooks, and attitudes toward learning. All the information Accomplished teachers gain knowledge about their that teachers acquire about students through the students by studying them carefully and seeking course of instruction subsequently informs their additional information from various sources. They understanding of teaching and learning, which learn from experience by listening to students, transforms their practice. watching them interact with peers, observing them work in different contexts, reading their thoughts Teachers Understand How Students Develop and reflections, and otherwise examining their and Learn actions and behavior in the learning environment. In addition to attaining knowledge specific to their Teachers also look closely at how students play students, accomplished educators consult a vari- so they can encourage those students to explore ety of learning and development theories to make their imagination during instruction. By engaging informed decisions about instructional content and students on a social, emotional, intellectual, and teaching methods. They are familiar with concepts physical basis, accomplished teachers enhance about teaching and learning generated by social learning at every age and developmental level. To and cognitive scientists. Moreover, educators inte- inform their pedagogical decisions further, educa- grate that knowledge with personal theories about tors analyze assessment data as well, considering learning and development generated from their it alongside input they receive from family members own practice. Based on their theoretical knowledge and other adults involved in their students’ lives. and practical experience in the classroom, accom- plished teachers understand that each student has Such an extensive evaluation represents no easy different cognitive strengths. Educators determine feat. What teachers are able to see, hear, and learn how to capitalize on those assets as they consider about students is influenced by their prior knowl - how best to nurture their students’ abilities and edge and experience as professionals. When aptitudes. working with children and young adults who have different backgrounds and experiences from their Accomplished teachers provide multiple opportu- own, accomplished teachers therefore monitor their nities for students to demonstrate their knowledge impressions and thoughts carefully to acquire a 15 Teachers are Committed to Students and Their Learning and showcase their abilities, both in and out of tra- urban community. That said, people share important ditional school settings. For example, students who similarities as well, regardless of their social affilia - find the calculation of percentages challenging in tion or cultural background. Those similarities and school may be able to determine value discounts differences are always shifting. readily while shopping—a Thus, teachers must become mathematics instructor attuned to their students’ may thus incorporate that Accomplished teachers therefore “ individual situations and activity within an exercise use everything they know about changing circumstances. to provide students with an effective—and ineffective— By doing so, accomplished alternate way to demon- practices to develop strategies teachers can develop an strate their knowledge that capitalize on their students’ array of strategies for shar- and improve their abilities. varied backgrounds, using diversity ing differences, identifying Accomplished teachers to enrich the learning environment similarities, and embracing strive to appreciate and diversity within the learning understand their students’ for every student. environment. Those strate- aptitudes and intelligences. gies provide educational experiences that capitalize By encouraging students to relate their personal on classroom diversity by connecting students with experience to the classroom environment, teachers various cultural experiences while broadening their help students make learning relevant and advance perspectives on learning and thinking. their skills across academic settings. Importantly, accomplished teachers recognize Teachers Treat Students Equitably that, in a multicultural world, students possess a As advocates for the interests of students, accom- wide range of abilities and aptitudes that might be plished teachers are vigilant in ensuring that all valued differently by families, local communities, pupils receive their fair share of attention. Educa- and schools. For instance, the knowledge, skills, tors recognize their own biases and make certain and dispositions nurtured in a Native American com- that any preconceptions based on real or perceived munity may differ from those promoted in a Latino ability differences, exceptionalities, socioeconomic community. Similarly, those cultivated by a suburban or cultural background, family configuration, sexual community may differ from those developed in an 16 What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do orientation, physical characteristics, race, ethnicity, part of the learning process; they show students language, religion, age, or gender do not distort how to cope with it and create environments their relationships with students. Accomplished in which learners are comfortable taking risks. teachers maintain an open mind and a balanced Through failure, children and young adults can perspective on their students. attain perseverance and resilience, which will help them achieve their potential. At the same time, That approach does not suggest that teachers treat accomplished teachers increase their students’ all students alike, because using the same tactics engagement and motivation by providing them with to address similar behavior by different students options from which to choose, fostering their own- does not necessarily result in an equitable educa- ership in learning, and setting high expectations. tion. Rather, teachers respond to die ff rences among Students come to understand that questioning and students, being careful to counter potential inequi- goal setting are integral aspects of the learning ties and avoid favoritism. Accomplished educators process. monitor their students’ access to resources and advocate to ensure that students have the tools Teachers model all those behaviors, using them they need to learn. That level of attention requires a to help students advocate for themselves in the well-tuned alertness, which can be difficult. Accom - classroom and in the community. As participants plished teachers therefore use everything they of a larger world, the students of accomplished know about effective—and ineffective—practices to teachers recognize the effect that their actions have develop strategies that capitalize on their students’ outside the classroom. They therefore develop civic varied backgrounds, using diversity to enrich the responsibility and digital citizenship, becoming learning environment for every student. aware of how their actions affect others. All those lessons—important in their own right—are essential to intellectual development as well. Accomplished Teachers Know Their Mission Transcends teachers consider their students’ potential in that the Cognitive Development of Their Students broader sense when making decisions about what Accomplished teachers are devoted to support- and how to teach. ing the development of character and preparing students for a successful future. To facilitate such growth, educators recognize that failure is a natural THE FIVE CORE PROPOSITIONS 1. TEACHERS ARE COMMITTED TO STUDENTS AND THEIR LEARNING. 2. TEACHERS KNOW THE SUBJECTS THEY TEACH AND HOW TO TEACH THOSE SUBJECTS TO STUDENTS. 3. TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING AND MONITORING STUDENT LEARNING. 4. TEACHERS THINK SYSTEMATICALLY ABOUT THEIR PRACTICE AND LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE. 5. TEACHERS ARE MEMBERS OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES.PROPOSITION 2 If one cardinal principle of teaching is a com- Teachers Appreciate How Knowledge in mitment to the welfare and education of young Their Subjects is Created, Organized, and Linked to Other Disciplines people, another is a commitment to subject matter. Accomplished teachers are dedicated to acquaint- Teachers who possess a firm command of their ing students with the social, cultural, ethical, and subject areas understand factual information as physical worlds in which we live, and they use the well as major themes and concepts. They also subjects they teach as an introduction to those comprehend the process of creative investigation realms. A comprehensive understanding of sub- and inquiry, whereby discoveries are made and ject matter entails more than the recitation of dates, new knowledge is formed, as demonstrated in the multiplication tables, or grammatical rules within a work of scholars and artists. For instance, physics single content domain. Rather, it requires the pursuit teachers know the role of hypothesis generation of substantive knowledge by exploring domains and and experimentation in scientific inquiry; geometry making connections to become fully engaged in the teachers know the modes of justification for sub - learning process. stantiating mathematical claims; fine arts teachers understand how creative ideas are developed and meaning is conveyed through performance; social studies teachers know how historians use evidence 18