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B. English Language Arts

Summary

Definition

Checklist - make into an anchor

Application/Examples - make into an anchor

Note.  Printed with permission from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, (Early Adolescence/English Language Arts Standards, 1998; Adolescence and Young Adulthood/English Language Arts Standards, 1998), www.nbpts.org. All rights reserved.

Checklist

1. Early adolescence

___a. Knowledge of students

___b. Curricular choices

___c. Engagement

___d. Learning environment

___e. Instructional resources

___f. Reading

___g. Writing

___h. Discourse

___i. Language study

___j. Integrated instruction

___k. Assessment

___l. Self-reflection

___m. Professional community

___n. Family outreach 

2. Adolescence and young adulthood
Preparing the way for productive student learning

___a. Knowledge of students

___b. Knowledge of English language arts

___c. Engagement

___d. Fairness

___e. Learning environment

___f. Instructional resources

Advancing student learning in the classroom 

___g. Integrated instruction

___h. Reading

___i. Writing

___j. Discourse

___k. Language study

___l. Assessment

___m. Self-reflection

___n. Professional community

___o. Family outreach

Applications/Examples

1. Early Adolescence  

___a. Knowledge of students

  • Teachers systematically acquire a sense of their students as individual language learners, create classrooms centered around students, and believe that all students can learn.

  • Teachers are aware and appreciate the students' cultural, linguistic, and ethnic heritage, family setting, prior learning experiences, personal interests, needs, and goals.

  • They systematically observe students using English and other languages in group settings.

  • They may individually check oral reading skills, administer assessment exercises, and conduct private interviews.

___b. Curricular choices 

  • Teachers set attainable and worthwhile learning goals for students and develop meaningful learning opportunities while extending to students an increasing measure of control over how these goals are pursued.

  • They encourage self-directed learning on the part of each student, but always gauge student progress in terms of ambitious long-term learning goals.

  • They organize, structure, and sequence learning activities that reflect proposed goals and develop significant learning experiences.

  • The planning process is inclusive--all students are involved.

___c. Engagement 

  • Teachers elicit a concerted effort in language learning from each of their students.

  • They engage students in language learning by having the latter participate actively in discussions of literature, share their ideas about writing, and listen attentively to one another.

  • Teachers display a contagious enthusiasm for literature and language arts processes, to which their students relate.

  • Teachers offer learning activities, reading selections, and writing assignments (often self-selected) that frequently relate to the interests and concerns of young adolescents.

  • Teachers maintain high expectations for the language development of each student.

  • They know that genuine achievement motivates students to do their best--they provide frequent opportunities for students to engage actively in their own expression and meaning making.

___d. Learning environment 

  • Teachers create a caring, inclusive, and challenging environment in which students actively learn.

  • They create an atmosphere in which all students can develop competence in their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills without an inhibiting fear of failure or social stigmatization, respect diversity in each other's language, background knowledge, and experience, and assume mutual responsibility for the success of the learning community.

  • Teachers are friendly, curious, enthusiastic about literature and the uses of language, and supportive of each student's language initiatives.

  • They are good listeners and have a healthy sense of humor.

  • They are caring, fair-minded, and supportive of each student's well-being.

  • Teachers use the diversity of language experience, cultural background, and ethnic heritage as a source to be explored for their students' understanding of each other.

  • They are efficient classroom managers who know the value of using scarce resources.

  • They understand that classroom discipline is largely a function of student engagement (grouping decisions, judicious movements about the room).

  • Teachers arrange for frequent collaborative learning opportunities and are equally comfortable employing whole-class, one-on-one, peer-group, cross-age-tutoring, or other grouping approaches.

___e. Instructional resources 

  • Teachers select, adapt, and create resources that support active student exploration of literature and language processes.

  • They are familiar with a variety of curricular resources--ranging from traditional print literature to electronic texts--that can enrich and extend the scope of their students' engagement with English language arts.

  • They have an extensive knowledge of written texts, and they draw on this knowledge, combined with their knowledge of the literacy skills, social backgrounds, and personal interests of their students, to make suggestions for independent reading by individual students.

  • They provide students with a wide range of optional texts.

  • They know that an exposure to texts of many cultures is critical for all students.

  • They are prepared to cope with the recurring problem of text censorship--they keep parents and other representatives of the community apprised of their text selections and deal constructively with individuals objecting to the inclusion of specific works.

___f. Reading 

  • Teachers engage their students in reading and responding to literature and in interpreting and thinking deeply about literature and other texts.

  • They understand that all students are entitled to their own response to a text.

  • Teachers help students become sensitive, willing, adventurous readers who can articulate insightful interpretations of increasingly demanding texts.

  • They encourage a range of interpretations, helping students recognize, respect, and learn the inherent value of differing responses to the same text.

  • Teachers are co-learners with their students in discussions of literature, asking open-ended questions about the text, following the logical train of student-initiated observations.

  • They present to the students the cognitive strategies expert readers use for generating meaning from text--asking strategic questions, summarizing, paraphrasing, inferring, or predicting; they point out structural literary devices--analogies, metaphors, symbolism, etc.--in the setting in which they occur.

  • In pre-reading activities, teachers attempt to establish their students' personal involvement with the story.

  • Teachers design and use a range of activities that permit students, regardless of their level of reading or language proficiency, to demonstrate their comprehension, interpretation, and appreciation of texts (reading aloud to students, providing audiotapes of stories, having students respond to texts through improvisational role playing, drawing, or dance, etc.).

___g. Writing 

  • Teachers immerse their students in the art of writing.

  • They know that writing well is a skill best acquired through active practice and that students are most motivated to write when they are allowed o address issues that have meaning in their lives.

  • They sponsor informal writing activities (free writing, daily journals, note taking, listing, question generating, etc.).

  • Teachers present the different stages in the complex process of writing. First, they choose learning activities that highlight various aspects of the writing process; second, they regularly write themselves, sharing with students their own strategies; third, they keep models of writing, by professionals and peers alike, before their students.

  • Teachers have students share informal and formal writings with one another and publish students' writings so that students have the opportunity to perceive one another as authors.

  • Teachers encourage students to write about issues that matter in their lives, by frequently demonstrating the impact their writings have on classmates and other audiences.

  • Teachers demonstrate a constructive response to student texts that students can imitate in their reactions to one another's writing efforts.

  • Teachers are aware of common patterns in developing writers and provide direct instruction addressing them.

___h. Discourse

  • Teachers foster thoughtful classroom discourse that provides opportunities for students to listen and speak in many ways and for many purposes.

  • Teachers know that improving oral expression is important to the development of the literacy skills of all students and provide them with opportunities to take part actively in challenging uses of speech (student participation in small-group or whole-class discussions of texts, role playing, creative drama reenactment, parliamentary debate, oratorical advocacy, humorous storytelling, etc.).

  • They use variations in language style within the classroom community as a resource for students to learn about and appreciate language diversity.

  • Teachers are fluent and adept users of the spoken word; they help students directly with improving their speech.

  • Teachers participate in classroom conversation about literature or other texts as co-learners and members of the group--they ask open-ended questions, listen carefully to what students have to say, etc.

___i. Language study

  • Teachers strengthen student sensitivity to and proficiency in the appropriate uses of language.

  • They know the accepted rules of grammar, syntax, and usage and employ them in their daily classroom conversations.

  • They also know that dialects often signal membership in a group and are richly expressive communicative tools in their own right.

  • Teachers respect the integrity and value of their students' home language while modeling and teaching the conventions of English as a way of expanding each student's opportunity to participate fully in society.

  • Teachers help students recognize that what is appropriate oral and written language varies according to the cultural and social setting.

  • Teachers eliminate difficult-to-understand jargon, restate key points, and use a slower, but natural, speech rate with clear enunciation and simplified vocabulary (visual cues are also used).

  • Teachers carry out regular comprehension checks.

___j. Integrated instruction 

  • Teachers integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening opportunities in the creation and interpretation of meaningful texts.

  • Students are helped to understand that the language competencies they are acquiring apply across the curriculum.

___k. Assessment 

  • Teachers use a range of formal and informal assessment methods to monitor student progress, encourage student self-assessment, plan instruction, and report to various audiences.

  • They provide students with constructive feedback regarding both the processes and products of their meaning-making efforts.

  • Assessment is a constant monitoring of student progress that precedes and accompanies instruction.

  • They take into account cultural biases and linguistic realities in their assessment practices by systemically monitoring student participation during class discussions or other classroom work, reviewing collections of individual student writings over time, keeping anecdotal notes on student performances during oral presentations or group reports, conducting one-on-one interviews, recording audiotapes, keeping student portfolios, etc.

___l. Self-reflection 

  • Teachers regularly analyze, evaluate, and strengthen the effectiveness and quality of their practice by evaluating results and seeking input systematically from a variety of sources and by being open to new ideas and continuously refining their practice.

___m. Professional community 

  • Teachers work with colleagues to improve schools and to advance knowledge and practice in the field by contributing to the school's intellectual life, the overall quality of instruction, and the advancement of the profession.

___n. Family outreach 

  • Teachers work with families to achieve common goals for the education of their children by gaining insight about students through partnerships with families and by cultivating families' interest in supporting their children's education.

2. Adolescence and young adulthood

Preparing the way for productive student learning

 ___a. Knowledge of students

  • Teachers systematically acquire a sense of their students as individual language learners.

  • Teachers create classrooms centered around students.

  • Teachers believe that all students can learn.

  • Teachers are aware and appreciate the students' cultural, linguistic, and ethnic heritage, family setting, prior learning experiences, personal interests, needs, and goals.

  • They systematically observe students using English and other languages in group settings.

  • They may individually check oral reading skills, administer assessment exercises, and conduct private interviews.

___b. Knowledge of English language arts

  • Teachers know their field and draw upon this knowledge to set attainable and worthwhile learning goals for students.

  • They encourage self-directed learning on the part of each student, but do so within the framework of ambitious, long-term learning goals informed by their own knowledge of English language arts.

  • They are familiar with a large and diverse array of literary works, authors, and genres from throughout the world.

  • Teachers provide students with opportunities to decide how learning goals are pursued; they adjust their practice, as appropriate, to student feedback and provide many avenues to learning.

  • They rely on their students' growing maturity in designing assignments that provide students with increasing latitude, scope, and responsibility; the planning process is inclusive--all students are involved.

___c. Engagement 

  • Teachers elicit a concerted effort in language learning from each of their students.

  • They engage students in language learning by having the latter participate actively in discussions of literature, share their ideas about writing, and listen attentively to one another.

  • Teachers display a contagious enthusiasm for literature and language arts processes, to which their students relate.

  • Teachers offer learning activities, reading selections, and writing assignments (often self-selected) that frequently relate to the interests and concerns of young adolescents; teachers maintain high expectations for the language development of each student.

  • They know that genuine achievement motivates students to do their best--they provide frequent opportunities for students to engage actively in their own expression and making meaning.

___d. Fairness 

  • Teachers demonstrate through their practices toward all students their commitment to the principles of equity, strength through diversity, and fairness.

  • They frequently bring individuals from varying backgrounds in contact with one another to provide a forum where experiences can be shared and mutual understandings of core similarities and differences deepened.

  • Within groups, teachers may establish leadership roles to prevent gender or other stereotypes from restricting participation.

  • Teachers are vigilant in making sure that all students receive their fair share of attention and that their assessments of student progress are similarly balanced.

  • They are creative in tailoring activities so that each student benefits from the experience, and they can articulate reasons for their strategies and the outcomes they are seeking to realize from them. 

___e. Learning environment 

  • Teachers create a caring, inclusive, and challenging environment in which students actively learn.

  • They create an atmosphere in which all students can develop competence in their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills without an inhibiting fear of failure or social stigmatization, respect diversity in each other's language, background knowledge, and experience, and assume mutual responsibility for the success of the learning community.

  • Teachers are friendly, curious, enthusiastic about literature and the uses of language, and supportive of each student's language initiatives.

  • They are good listeners and have a healthy sense of humor.

  • They are caring, fair-minded, and supportive of each student's well-being.

  • Teachers use the diversity of language experience, cultural background, and ethic heritage as a source to be explored for their students' understanding of each other.

  • They are efficient classroom managers who know the value of using scarce resources.

  • They understand that classroom discipline is largely a function of student engagement (grouping decisions, judicious movements about the room).

  • Teachers arrange for frequent collaborative learning opportunities and are equally comfortable employing whole-class, one-on-one, peer-group, cross-age-tutoring, or other grouping approaches.

___f. Instructional resources

  • Teachers select, adapt, and create curricular resources that support active student exploration of language processes and a wide range of texts.

  • Teachers choose texts for concentrated study (predominantly poetry, short stories, novels, essays, biographies, and other traditional literary forms), but also they include less traditional forms (student writings, TV programs, lyrics, ads, cartoons) based on their literary substance, representative diversity, and appeal to adolescents and young adults.

  • They draw on knowledge of their field, combined with knowledge of the literary skills, social background, and personal interests of their students, to make suggestions for independent reading by individual students.

  • They provide their students with an introduction to a variety of texts from many cultures and many viewpoints; teachers balance the claims of fiction and nonfiction, of prose and poetry, of the predominantly visual or aural with the predominantly written or verbal, of seminal authors and works of enduring merit from different periods of American literature and the literature of other societies with the stimulating appeal of new voices and perspectives.

  • They are prepared to address the recurring issues of text censorship; they inform parents and other representatives of the community of their text selections and work with individuals objecting to the inclusion of specific texts.

  • Teachers are aware of the power of new technologies to support their students' education, and they rely on and disseminate knowledge of these tools in their practice.

Advancing student learning in the classroom 

___g. Integrated instruction 

  • Teachers frequently integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing opportunities in English studies and across the other disciplines.

  • Students are helped to improve the clarity of their thinking and communication skills by using language across the curriculum (gather relevant information; discriminate between reliable and frivolous or biased sources; synthesize ideas into a convincing whole; express their ideas in a coherent, compelling, and well-reasoned fashion).

  • Teachers involve students in extended analyses of the pivotal themes and ideas that poets and philosophers have explored through the ages; students are able to contextualize and deepen their own learning.

___h. Reading 

  • Teachers engage their students in reading and responding to literature and in interpreting and thinking deeply about literature and other texts.

  • They understand that all students are entitled to their own response to a text.

  • Teachers help students become sensitive, willing, adventurous readers who can articulate insightful interpretations of increasingly demanding texts.

  • They encourage a range of interpretations, helping students recognize, respect, and learn the inherent value of differing responses to the same text.

  • Teachers are co-learners with their students in discussions of literature, asking open-ended questions about the text, following the logical train of student-initiated observations.

  • They present to the students the cognitive strategies expert readers use for generating meaning from text--asking strategic questions, summarizing, paraphrasing, inferring, or predicting.

  • They point out structural literary devices--analogies, metaphors, symbolism, etc.--in the setting in which they occur.

  • In pre-reading activities, teachers attempt to establish their students' personal involvement with the story.

  • Teachers design and use a range of activities that permit students, regardless of their level of reading or language proficiency, to demonstrate their comprehension, interpretation, and appreciation of texts (reading aloud to students, providing audiotapes of stories, having students respond to texts through improvisational role playing, drawing, or dance, etc.).

___i. Writing 

  • Teachers immerse their students in the art of writing.

  • They know that writing well is a skill best acquired through active practice and that students are most motivated to write when they are allowed o address issues that have meaning in their lives.

  • They sponsor informal writing activities (free writing, daily journals, note taking, listing, question generating, etc.).

  • Teachers present the different stages in the complex process of writing. First, they choose learning activities that highlight various aspects of the writing process; second, they regularly write themselves, sharing with students their own strategies; and third, they keep models of writing, by professionals and peers alike, before their students.

  • Teachers have students share informal and formal writings with one another and publish students' writings so that students have the opportunity to perceive one another as authors.

  • Teachers encourage students to write about issues that matter in their lives, by frequently demonstrating the impact their writings have on classmates and other audiences.

  • Teachers demonstrate a constructive response to student texts that students can imitate in their reactions to one another's writing efforts.

  • Teachers are aware of common patterns in developing writers and provide direct instruction addressing them.

___j. Discourse 

  • Teachers foster thoughtful classroom discourse that provides opportunities for students to listen and speak in many ways and for many purposes.

  • Teachers know that improving oral expression is important to the development of the literacy skills of all students and provide them with opportunities to take part actively in challenging uses of speech (student participation in small-group or whole-class discussions of texts, role playing, creative drama reenactment, parliamentary debate, oratorical advocacy, humorous storytelling, etc.).

  • They use variations in language style within the classroom community as a resource for students to learn about and appreciate language diversity.

  • Teachers are fluent and adept users of the spoken word.

  • They help students directly with improving their speech.

  • Teachers participate in classroom conversation about literature or other texts as co-learners and members of the group--they ask open-ended questions, listen carefully to what students have to say, etc.

___k. Language study 

  • Teachers strengthen student sensitivity to and proficiency in the appropriate uses of language.

  • They know the accepted rules of grammar, syntax, and usage and employ them in their daily classroom conversations.

  • They also know that dialects often signal membership in a group and are richly expressive communicative tools in their own right.

  • Teachers respect the integrity and value of their students' home language while modeling and teaching the conventions of English as a way of expanding each student's opportunity to participate fully in society.

  • Teachers help students recognize that what is appropriate oral and written language varies according to the cultural and social setting.

  • When dealing with ESL students, teachers eliminate difficult-to-understand jargon, restate key points, and use a slower, but natural, speech rate with clear enunciation and simplified vocabulary (visual cues are also used).

  • Teachers carry out regular comprehension checks.

___l. Assessment 

  • Teachers use a range of formal and informal assessment methods to monitor student progress, encourage student self-assessment, plan instruction, and report to various audiences.

  • They provide students with constructive feedback regarding both the processes and products of their meaning-making efforts.

  • Assessment is a constant monitoring of student progress that precedes and accompanies instruction.

  • They take into account cultural biases and linguistic realities in their assessment practices by systemically monitoring student participation during class discussions or other classroom work, reviewing collections of individual student writings over time, keeping anecdotal notes on student performances during oral presentations or group reports, conducting one-on-one interviews, recording audiotapes, keeping student portfolios, etc.

___m. Self-reflection

  • Teachers regularly analyze, evaluate, and strengthen the effectiveness and quality of their practice by evaluating results and seeking input systematically from a variety of sources and by being open to new ideas and continuously refining their practice.

___n. Professional community

  • Teachers work with colleagues to improve schools and to advance knowledge and practice in the field by contributing to the school's intellectual life, the overall quality of instruction, and the advancement of the profession.

___o. Family outreach 

  • Teachers work with families to achieve common goals for the education of their children by gaining insight about students through partnerships with families and by cultivating families' interest in supporting their children's education.