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RTOP - Self Assessment Version

RTOP - Self Assessment Version

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Published by fnoschese

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Published by: fnoschese on Aug 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Background: When Drew Isola was first exposed to the RTOP and had a chance to look through it in depth, anumber of possibilities jumped right out at him. He was immediately struck with the value of the RTOP as a tool tocollect reliable data about teaching practices; but as a high school math and science teacher, he felt concern over itsuse. It seemed too artificial and did not capture the variability in any one teacher’s classroom. As he thought aboutusing the RTOP, an idea began to take shape. Few classroom teachers have time or motivation to record a video of themselves or be videotaped. However, the RTOP does give, to those who teach, a very clear cut, detaileddescription of what it means to be an inquiry-based teacher. So he edited the language of the RTOP to make it moreof a guide to personal reflection of one’s own teaching. The idea was to change the focus of each item to direct itinward, and to change the terminology to describe the same characteristics it was designed to measure in morecommon everyday terms. Drew Isola (
teaches physics at Allegan High School in Allegan,Michigan. He was the 2005-07 PhysTEC Teacher-in-Residence at Western Michigan University. Nov.2008
Inquiry-Based (aka Reformed) Teaching Self-Assessment Inventory(RTOP self-assessment)
What does it mean to be an inquiry-based teacher? Read through the following lists of characteristics of an inquiry-based teacher and their accompanying descriptions. Think aboutwhat each one means to you and evaluate how well it describes you as a teacher. Analyze eachcharacteristic using the following directions.
1) For each item on the following lists, rate each characteristic on a scale of 0 to 4:
A “0” should be used if the characteristic and its description is
an accurate way todescribe you or your teaching.
A “2” should be used if the characteristic and its description is an accurate way todescribe you or your teaching
of the time.
A “4” should be used if the characteristic and its description is a very accurate way todescribe you or your teaching on a
Use the “1” and “3” as ‘in between’ ratings if you cannot decide between the “0”, “2”, or “4” ratings on a particular characteristic.
Put a “?” next to any item if you aren’t sure what the item means.2) As you rate each characteristic, think of specific examples from your own experiences thatwould correspond to each item.
Be prepared to share these examples with your group.3) Make a note of any items that are unclear to you or that you are uncertain as to their meaning.If so, be prepared to discuss these with your group members. Try to put into words some roughideas of what you think the items are trying to say. In your group discussion, try to develop agroup consensus of the meaning of each of these items.4) As you go through the lists, think about the items you rate as “0” or as
being an accurateway to describe your teaching.
they be a part of your teaching? In other words, do theseitems apply to your teaching situation? If so,
would they apply? If not, why
theyapply? Be prepared to share as many of these insights as you feel comfortable sharing with therest of the group.
 Lesson Planning and Implementation:
1) Your instructional strategies and activities show respect for students’ prior knowledgeand their preconceptions or misconceptions found within that knowledge.
A cornerstone of “reformed teaching” is taking into consideration the prior knowledge thatstudents bring with them. The term “respect” is pivotal in this item. It suggests an attitude of curiosity on the teacher’s part, an active solicitation of student ideas, and an understanding thatmuch of what a student brings to the mathematics or science classroom is strongly shaped andconditioned by their everyday experiences.
01234__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________2) Your instructional strategies and activities are designed to allow students to use theirprior knowledge to explain or predict phenomena and then resolve any results or answersthat are surprising to them.
A common phrase used to describe strategies designed to change student thinking in this way is“cognitive conflict”. Students need to be given opportunities to explore and apply theknowledge they bring to class with them. Research tells us that students will build new conceptson the concepts they already have, so they need time to figure out the usefulness of theknowledge they have and where it is no longer sufficient. Your instructional strategies andactivities should encourage students to expand on existing knowledge, construct new knowledgewhile connecting it to previous knowledge, and sometimes radically rearrange their thinking toaccommodate new explanations that they may not have encountered before. One must be carefulhowever not to subject students to situations or problems where their predictions or explanationsare frequently inadequate or wrong. In these environments students frequently give up trying tobuild their own understanding and just wait for someone to tell them the correct answer.

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