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Monica Izzo
EDUG 501-PRQ Paper #2
September 15, 2015

One of the first impressions made upon walking into a new classroom each year is the
environment and how it is set up. As a future teacher I want mine to be bold and catch each
student and their families eyes upon arrival. I want it to warm and welcoming, ensuring
everyone to feel comfortable with approaching me whenever, applying an open door policy. I
want the environment to be positive by having plenty of multicultural images represented and
materials provided. The classroom environment is to be set up in a way to instruct where students
can be motivated to learn.
In order for students to be motivated to learn, teachers are expected to provide a safe
environment physically, socially, and emotionally. Students should know what is expected of
them academically and socially, by establishing classroom rules together. By involving the
students in setting classroom rules, you are creating a community that engages students to make
an effort and clearly identify what they believe to be a physically, socially, and emotionally safe
environment. The teacher then takes into consideration what the students have agreed upon and
makes a decision on what stays and what goes in regards to the schools policies. The decision
making still keeps the students in mind, respecting what they have said, modeling what it looks
like to be sensitive to others needs. A well-functioning environment acknowledges the
differences amongst the class and meets the needs by allowing time for students to work
individually, but also allows time for students to work in mixed groups to promote growth in
other academic areas. For example, where one might struggle in math they can now have an
opportunity to learn from a peer. (California Teaching Performance Expectations, 2013)
In an authoritative approach to teaching, mixed in with a Vygotskian classroom, my role
as a teacher is to not only involve students in decision making, but in what they need to learn as
well. Each student has a zone of proximal development, meaning that each student is capable of
learning without help (independent work) and what they can develop with help (group work and
instruction). My role as a teacher is to identify each students zone of proximal development by
managing and monitoring them as they work. This can also be done through scaffolding, where I
demonstrate what needs to be done, and then step back monitoring the students as they work
alone or together to do what was demonstrated. This will give me an idea of where the student is
at, allowing me to measure progress and explain the progress made to families. (Vygotsky, 1978)
(What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do, 2002)
Getting to know each of my students and their zone of proximal development, I will have
to instruct to each of their individual needs. Placing students in mixed groups allows for the
students to interact with each other as well as the environment using their senses (sight, hearing,
touch, smell, and taste) being able to see and hear others talk on the subject matter being taught
and relate it to their stronger sense of intelligence (Linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical,
spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) provides a higher chance of students
to retain knowledge. In order for me to teach to the students needs I will have to use multiple
means of representation. For those who learn with visual representation, I can include graphics
during instruction, for those who learn with music, I can incorporate music, and for those who
learn kinesthetically, I can incorporate body movements. Knowing that I need to use multiple
means of representation, to be fair I have to allow students to represent what they have learned in
multiple means of expression. This simply means allowing students to be creative in expressing

the knowledge theyve retained whether it be through PowerPoint, posters, or writing.


Incorporating these multiple means will encourage students to be engaged because as a teacher I
am being flexible to their needs, constantly changing the way I instruct (Burden & Byrd, 2013)
(Burkhardt, 2014)
The classroom environment is to be set up in a way to instruct where students can be
motivated to learn, to do that students have to feel safe, they have to be a part of the community,
their opinions matter, they have to feel respected, and they have to have the chance to learn.

References
Burden, P., & Byrd, D. (2013). Methods for Effective Teaching Meeting the Needs of
All Students . Upper Saddle River : Pearson .
Burkhardt, W. (2014). Universal design for learning: An Overview and Examples of
How to Use It in the Classroom. On Cue, 8-9.
California Teaching Performance Expectations. (2013). Commision on Teacher
Credentialing , 1-18.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. In mind in
Society: The development of higher psychologial processess. Cambridge, MA:
Harverd University Press., 79-91.
What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do. (2002). National Board for
Professional Teaching Standards, 1-22.