seemed attentive during the course of the lesson, and no off-task behaviors were evident. He stimulated students to draw on their own experiences in order to understand the messages in the play.

Teacher A’s written materials discussing the lesson demonstrated his self-reflection skills. He provided a thorough analysis of the positive and negative aspects of the lesson. While the lesson appeared to have been quite effective, he identified ways in which it might have been improved. This teacher’s submission demonstrated his knowledge of the students and the subject matter, effective use of instructional strategies to engage students and help them learn, and the ability to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Teacher B’s lesson focused on a classic 19th-century novel that her students were in the process of reading. The lesson was intended to provide historical context for the novel and to tie that context to a discussion of the text. In her written submission, Teacher B had described her students as chatty but very academically able, yet the lesson seemed not to capitalize on their ability levels nor their willingness to converse. The video showed a lesson that appeared to be disjointed and uninteresting to students. Students were not engaged in the discussion, some seemed not to be on task, and many side conversations were occurring. Students did not willingly participate in the discussion, and even when called upon, their comments were not insightful with regard to the novel. Most striking were the lack of structure and haphazardness the lesson displayed and the number of times a possible discussion dwindled for lack of effective encouragement by the teacher.

The video showed that Teacher B did not seem to have a strong command of the subject matter. For example, the observations she raised about 19th-century England were trivial, and she missed opportunities to expand on their possible relevance to the events in the novel, the creation of mood, or other important points. She did not demonstrate effective strategies in engaging her students or creating an environment conducive to learning. Her written materials demonstrated a lack of insight into the positive and negative aspects of the lesson and little in the way of self-reflection. For instance, she described the discussion as successful and noted that the lesson was an effective way to introduce contextual background important for understanding the story. However, the video portrayed a class of students who were not engaged in the discussion and did not demonstrate their understanding of important points about characters in the novel. When these misunderstandings became evident—by something the students asked or stated—the teacher was not effective in correcting them, often because the student did not appear to be listening.

These two excerpts were chosen to illustrate the two score points on either side of passing, and the committee found there were clear distinctions between the two teachers’ performance. The committee came away from



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement