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Date Created: March 23rd, 2017

Date Submitted: Spring 2017


Title of Artifact: Observation 2: Guidance
New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers: Standard Ten Leadership and
Collaboration

I am placing my artifact, Observation 2: Guidance, under Standard Ten Leadership and


Collaboration as evidence of continued mastery of appropriate guidance and leadership within
the classroom environment. In this observation, there are multiple examples of techniques which
provide teachers the ability to guide their students effectively. I had the ability to observe
common planning meetings which offered me the opportunity to witness first-hand how
leadership and collaboration works within an educational setting. Through discussion with the
teacher I observed I gained a greater understanding of various ways to ensure proper guidance
through leadership roles and collaboration with colleagues, community members, students and
families.

References:
New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers. (2014, August 4). Retrieved from
http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap9.pdf
I. Observation 2:

Guidance

II. Grade:
Differing depending on student (Ranging from 1st through 5th grade)
III. Students:
4 Boys (Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 4 and Grade 5)
IV. Setting:
Pull-Out Resource Room/Special Education Classroom
V. Pre-Observation:
Before completing this observation, I brainstormed some ways that guidance may

differ within a special education setting compared to a regular education setting. I

figured this would allow me to come up with a few research topics to review before

going to observe for guidance. Something interesting I came across while completing

this pre-observation research was an article that recognizes the importance of

maintaining a healthy mental state as a teacher. In the article titled Optimizing

Special Educator Wellness and Job Performance Through Stress Management,

authors Ansley et al. (2016), explain, In some cases, there are students with

disabilities who do not respond well to changes in routine. As a result, there may be

problems with student behaviors, which also disrupt the learning process. Though

teacher absences are inevitable at times, special educators who are frequently and

unpredictably absent may find it difficult to maintain structure and consistency for

their students, (p. 178). This quote helps readers recognize that teachers must

maintain a strong and healthy mental state for their methods of guidance to be

effective; whether in a regular or special education classroom environment. I thought

this piece of information was crucial for understanding that strong guiding techniques

start with a strong foundation. Therefore, a teacher must be in a healthy mental state

to be able to guide their students to their fullest potential.


VI. Data:
A reoccurring pattern that I recognized after completing my observation on guidance

was that most students wanted to complete tasks on their own without the help of

anyone. There was a strong sense of independence within these students even though

they may need extra guidance. During a math lesson one of the students specifically

seemed to be taking more time that usual to work out the multiplication problems. I

observed as the teacher allowed him to use multiple methods with minimal assistance

and the student seemed to reach the correct answer on his own. I found this to be an

extremely effective way for this student to accomplish his work. The teacher I am

observing used multiple methods to solve various math problems in order to reach the

needs of all of her students. I noticed that many students used methods they were

comfortable or familiar with which shows me that they have been scaffolding and

retaining the previous knowledge they have received.


VII. Analysis:
I used the data from the guidance observations I completed to come up with research

topics to analyze the techniques I observed. An incredible article I came across titled,

Envisioning the Future of Special Education Personnel Preparation in a Standards-

Based Era authors Leko et al. (2015), state, The more opportunities learners have to

learn and apply newly acquired knowledge in authentic situations, the better the

learning outcome, (p. 31). I noticed that occasionally some students would get

distracted and ask the teacher off-topic questions. I appreciated that the teacher would

not ignore those questions because they were just as rational as any of the on-topic

questions. She made this learning experience authentic for them and related many

topics to the real world so the students could have a better understanding. She did not
allow her students to stay off-topic for too long but giving them the time they need to

transition back into their assignment was essential and was a great guiding technique.
VIII. Recommendations:
A recommendation I would give to the teacher I am observing is to create a system in

which students write down on an index card a few main topics/concepts they

struggled with in their regular education classrooms for that week. The amount of

time each student gets with the special education teacher is minimal, therefore, it is

crucial that the students are working on their weakest points. With this type of system

implemented, not only would the teacher could target each students personal

weaknesses but it would allow students to analyze their own progress and growth. It

would help students to understand themselves more and allow them to guide

themselves more independently. Authors, Leko et al. claim, Research has shown

external, expert feedback is not the only kind of feedback that leads to successful

learning. Self-assessment or reflection on ones own learning is an equally important

fact. Reflecting on ones performance in terms of what did and did not work has been

shown to help learners transfer knowledge and skills to new contexts, (p. 31).

Teaching students techniques to understand themselves as learners is crucial because

as they get older there is less external guidance and it becomes more independent. It

is just as important to teach students proper techniques to guide themselves than it is

to hold their hands and guide them.


IX. Post-Observation:
After completing this observation, I tried to put together all the research and

information I obtained to generate a general understanding of how to guide students

effectively. Personally, the most important concept I learned was the idea of

maintaining a healthy mental state. This was number one for me because if the
classroom atmosphere is lacking a strong foundation then it is very likely that

students will struggle throughout the year. Students look up to their teachers for

support and guidance at all times and they must be able to provide for their students

needs.
X. Citations:

Ansley, B. M., Houchins, D., & Varjas, K. (2016). Optimizing Special Educator

Wellness and Job Performance Through Stress Management. TEACHING

Exceptional Children, 48(4), 176-185. doi:10.1177/0040059915626128

Leko, M. M., Brownell, M. T., Sindelar, P. T., & Kiely, M. T. (2015). Envisioning the

Future of Special Education Personnel Preparation in a Standards-Based

Era. Exceptional Children, 82(1), 25-43. doi:10.1177/0014402915598782