Teaching Standards and Criteria for Effective Instruction

8 Teaching Standards and Criteria

A teacher must meet all district expectations, including Iowa teaching standards and criteria developed by the department. If a supervisor or evaluator determines that a teacher is not meeting district expectations, the evaluator may recommend to the district that the teacher participate in an intensive assistance program.

Local districts will establish the policies, procedures and process to support Iowa teaching standards and criteria. This model framework can help guide those discussions.

1. Accurate Assessment of Student Learning

Assessment is a responsibility shared by many people. Instructors must define assessment goals and choose assignments that accurately reveal student learning.

Students can contribute to assessment as well. Instructors can provide opportunities for them to rehearse, practice, consult resources, and assess their own work and the work of others.

Teachers must adhere to board policies, district procedures, and contractual obligations in efforts to meet Iowa Teaching Standards/Criteria. This includes ensuring their classroom evaluation system is aligned with the Iowa Standards for Teacher Performance.

2. Engage Students in Learning

Students learn best when they’re engaged in the subject matter. This can be achieved by appealing to students’ interests, providing opportunities for interactive learning, and including culturally responsive teaching.

Local districts determine what policies, procedures and processes to establish in efforts to support the Iowa Teacher Standards and Criteria for Evaluation in their own staff evaluation system. This tier depicts a model for such a system. Beginning teachers and career teachers recommended for licensure will work together to design an individual professional development plan for the year.

3. Collaborate with All Learners

Teachers can collaborate with students, families, colleagues and communities to enhance learning. They can design projects that combine academic goals with holistic ones, like communication and critical thinking.

School administrators are preparing to implement Iowa’s new standards for school leaders, known as the ISSL. Iowa’s Area Education Agencies can help district administrators understand the new standards and provide training and resources.

4. Engage Parents in Student Learning

Parents want timely, impactful communication from their children’s schools. They also expect to be fully included and heard in decision-making processes that involve their school’s various education programs.

Teachers can take a variety of small steps to engage families in their classroom communities. Susan TerLouw, for example, takes a proactive approach by texting her students’ parents to update them on their learning. She has found that this is a great way to engage parents without waiting for an issue to arise.

5. Provide Feedback to Students and Parents

When feedback is based on an objective assessment of what students know and are capable of learning, it can be very helpful. However, it must be genuine and specific. Vague comments such as “Good job!” and “Nice work!” don’t help students improve their performance.

It is also important to provide feedback on an ongoing basis. This helps teachers understand the impact of their instruction and improves student outcomes. Iowa’s AEAs can provide assistance to district administrators in developing staff evaluation systems that support the Iowa Standards and criteria.

6. Communicate Effectively

In order to teach effectively, teachers must be able to communicate with students and parents in written and mediated formats. They must also be able to use critical thinking skills to identify and address problems that arise during instruction. Critical thinking is the ability to review, analyze, synthesize, compare and interpret information.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a set of skills that can help individuals understand and manage their emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. It is important to teach these skills to all students so they can navigate the unique social challenges they may face.

7. Use Technology to Enhance Learning

Many teachers use technology tools in their classrooms to provide students with innovative learning experiences. These include creating slideshows to present information, playing music or videos for background or context during presentations, and inviting virtual guest speakers to engage with their classes.

The administrator and the beginning teacher recommended for licensure meet prior to October 1 to cooperatively design an individual professional development plan. This plan is based upon the teacher’s needs aligned to Iowa Teaching Standards and the district/building student achievement goals.

8. Demonstrate Professionalism

Demonstrating professionalism involves more than just dressing professionally and maintaining a proper demeanor in the classroom. Teachers must also take time to reflect on their instruction, seek new ways to improve their teaching methods and be willing to try alternative approaches when the need arises.

Teachers who believe in the importance of significance are able to create meaningful goals that impact students’ lives beyond their classroom. They are able to work toward these goals with productivity and efficiency.

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