The standards act as bench marks to measure the success of instructional process in line with goals and objectives of learning.
STANDARD ONE: CONTENT PEDAGOGY This standard places emphasis on content matter of the subject. The ability of a teacher to correctly interpret the content in a subject goes a long way in determining the ability of the teacher to instruct effectively. It is virtually impossible for a teacher to pass across knowledge in situations where the teacher lacks proper knowledge of the same subject the teacher purports to teach.
It has been found that one of the major contributing factors to falling education levels currently witnessed in the country is as a result of incompetence on the part of the teachers (Gollnick, & Chinn, 2002). This again demonstrates the importance of content pedagogy as a measure aimed at ensuring that, teachers are competent and able to create an enabling learning environment where students can freely interact with learning materials in an environment which results into meaningful outcomes for the students.
For instance, a teacher who is assigned for a history and government lesson needs to have mastery of issues such as, government structures, the different arms of the government, the historical perspective of the government, as well as other key areas such as functions of the government, if such a teacher is going to be effective in executing his/her functions properly. It is paramount for the teacher to have a deep knowledge of the history and government discipline so that it is possible for the teacher to judge what content is suitable for what level of learners as well as what teaching methods would suit the particular discipline.
Good content pedagogy leads the teacher to develop suitable tools of inquiry which the students can relate with something which makes the learning process enjoyable both to the teacher and the student. Its through content mastery that a teacher can appreciate different theoretical underpinnings as well as different concepts which are central to the relevant to the field of study.
STANDARD TWO: STUDENT DEVELOPMENT Growth and development have been said to determine or at least to influence intellectual capability of learners (Gollnick, & Chinn, 2002).
Therefore, it is very crucial for teachers to have a working knowledge of student growth and development so as to be able to make the right choices when it comes to suitable choice of learning methods and approaches. An understanding of how students and youth learn is very vital when it comes to designing of lesson plans as this leads to effectiveness. For instance, a history and government teacher must understand that, children can only conceptualize some matters but not others.
For instance, a young child may be interested in a story revolving around the two World Wars as historical but not as a story revolving around the causes of the World Wars. However, with development, the child becomes interested in more complex matters such as what triggered the World Wars as well as the implications of the World Wars. Therefore, it is evident that, a good understanding of student development helps teachers to prioritize content matter depending on the age of the learners.
Student development knowledge assists the teacher to design and provide the most suitable learning opportunities in relation to the level of the learners. For instance, a teacher for history and government handling year Fives rely more on story telling to pass across the content although this can be occasionally substituted by site visits which are important in spurring interests amongst young learners. This learning needs change with developmental stages and it is the responsibility of the teachers to adjust to the ever changing needs of learners.
Student development is also influenced by social factors such as the school environment as well as the home environment. A good environment both at school and at home, creates confidence in learners as they are faced with few distractions something which makes learning and teaching enjoyable activity. STANDARD THREE: DIVERSE LEARNERS In an increasingly diverse society, there is a need for educational professionals to embrace diversity in all aspects such as cultural diversity.
The society is comprised of people from diverse cultures something which increases the possibility of teachers having to deal with learners from diverse backgrounds. If not managed well, diversity can be a leading cause of conflicts, hence the reason why teachers must rise above partisan decisions and avoid discrimination based on race, color, nationality or ideological differences. Teachers must appreciate the fact that, with diversity comes numerous sources of opinions, ideas, as well as new knowledge.
As a result, the teacher who embraces diversity is likely to end up with an end product that is richer and synergetic. Learners who are instructed by teachers capable of embracing diversity are more likely to grow up into adults and professionals who can fit well into the society. Learners from different backgrounds are sensitive to different stimuli and therefore, in the choice of the kind of learning approaches and methods to use, a good understanding of cultural diversity is an added advantage both to the teachers and to the learners.
A good understanding of diversity helps the teacher to appreciate talent and differences amongst learners. Such a teacher is more likely to be effective because of the ability to adapt to changes occasioned by cultural diversity. For instruction to be effective, it has to be sensitive to the needs and beliefs of the learners. Whereby teachers fail to honor diversity, negative conflicts result and the learning process is impeded. As Heinich, et al. (2002) notes, the 21st century requires professionals to think globally and steer clear of narrow interest such as those resulting from tolerance to interracial animosity.
Using the example of the history and government teacher, learning can be made easy in a culturally diverse class whereby the teacher can engage different students into discussions surrounding how different experiences have shaped their destiny with an aim of making it easy for learners to conceptualize key theories.
STANDARD FOUR: MULTIPLE INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES An understanding of different instructional strategies at the disposal of a teacher is very important in the instruction process. Different class situations call for different strategies.
A lot depends on the ability of the teacher to properly diagnose the needs of the learners. Although there are guidelines provided for teachers, discretion of individual teachers depending on the prevailing classroom situations is crucial. Instructional strategies vary in effectiveness but it is the choice of instructional strategy a teacher makes that eventually determines the effectiveness of the learning process. According to Heinich, et al. (2002), the best and most effective approach to instruction is the use of multiple instructional strategies.
A hybrid of instructional strategies such as, lecture methods, discussion method, practical method combined would yield more than the aggregate of the above mentioned strategies. A combination of the above mentioned strategies is important if teachers are going to achieve the objectives and goals of learning. With the use of multiple instructional strategies, it becomes easier for teachers to spur better critical thinking skills as well as better problem solving skills amongst learners something which results into enhanced performance.