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Core Competency Area 4

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Area Introduction

Developing effective instructional content and practice can depend on a teacher's or paraprofessional's ability to consider factors that influence instruction. Some of the most important factors include the learning characteristics of students (such as student learning styles and age), the relationship that instructors have with their students, the classroom environment in which students are being taught, the length and order of class lessons, classroom schedules, and of course the parameters of what is being taught. Understanding and using one's knowledge of these factors when developing instructional content and technique can make the difference between student success or difficulty. One factor related to the learning characteristics of students is called "learning styles" - people absorb information in different ways. Some people have an easier time understanding something through hearing it explained to them (auditory learners), others learn more easily through manipulating tangibles that represent something (kinesthetic learners), and yet others learn most easily through seeing representations of something (visual learners). While some people learn best through just one style, others learn through all three styles. If you develop your instruction around only one learning style, you may be making it difficult for students with the other styles to learn what you are teaching. Another factor related to the learning characteristics of students is what has been called "multiple intelligences" - ways that people mentally organize information. A few examples of multiple intelligences that research has identified include visual/spatial, verbal/linguistic, mathematical/logical, and bodily/kinesthetic intelligences. Yet another factor related to learning characteristics of students is student age. What is the student developmentally ready to understand? Considering these three factors in relation to your students will go a long way to helping you develop content and instructional techniques that are meaningful for your students.

Aside from the factors related to the learning characteristics of students, when developing effective instruction it is important to consider factors that influence your delivery of that instruction. How much time do you have to teach the objective? When is it best to teach it? Where will you teach it? How many students will you be teaching it to? What is their current progress on the subject? What relationship do you have with these students? When time, performance monitoring, and curriculum are all well managed, then instruction is more effective.

The paraprofessional can play a effective role in instructional content and practice by having an awareness of both the learning characteristics of their students and the environmental parameters around which they must organize their instruction. Paraprofessionals can utilize their close contact with students by building rapport, identifying learning characteristics, and aiding teachers with the development of effective lesson plans, instructional strategies, and instructional resources.

(Clicking the hyperlinked competency code, e.g., 1K3B, will take you to the associated training unit.)

4. Instructional Content and Practice
4.1 (4K1C) Ability to utilize learning styles theory in supporting instructional practices.
4.2 (4K2C) Awareness of the challenges and expectations of various learning environments.
4.3 (4S1C) Ability to establish and maintain rapport with students.
4.4 (4K3C, 4S2C) Ability to draw on knowledge and resources regarding a variety of developmental and age-appropriate instructional methods, techniques, and materials when supporting the instruction of the licensed teacher.
4.5 (4S3C) Ability to assist in adapting instructional strategies and materials according to the needs of the student, under the direction of a licensed teacher.
4.6 (4S4C) Ability to follow oral and written direction of licensed teachers, seeking clarification as needed.


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Your facilitator may ask you to turn in a written copy of the area review, in which case you can use either the pdf or rtf file. If your facilitator wants you to submit an electronic file, download the rtf file and open it in a Word Processor.

Area Evaluation


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