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TRB STANDARD #3: Educators Understand and Apply Knowledge of Student Growth and Development

Educators are knowledgeable about how children develop as learners and as social beings, and
demonstrate an understanding of individual learning differences and special needs. This knowledge is
used to assist educators in making decisions about curriculum, instruction, assessment and classroom

My Evidence: Practicum Reflection Blog- My Experience in a Skills for Life Class

The piece of evidence that I have chosen to use to represent my understanding of TRB STANDARD
#3: Educators Understand and Apply Knowledge of Student Growth and Development is the practicum
experience blog I posted to my ePortfolio about my experience working in the Skills for Life class at
Dover Bay Highschool during my last practicum. This blog post outlines the experiences I had in this class
with regards to differentiated teaching methods, different learning skills, assessment and learning goals,
as well as a summary of a book that was recommended to me by my sponsor teacher which greatly
represents her goals for education in a special needs class.

My experience while working in the Skills for Life class at Dover has taught me a lot about what it
means to truly reach students with special needs. I learned that different teaching methods are needed
to reach these kids, which truly challenges teachers to think about differentiated learning. You are not
just teaching a class one lesson, but multiple students different lessons in the same class all at the same
time (based on a wide variety of ages and skill levels in one class). Different skills are also learned in
these classes, those of which are meant to hopefully push these students to not only find success
academically but as citizens in the real world. These achievements also require different assessment
methods used by teachers in contrast to methods that work in a traditional classroom. My sponsor
teacher really focused on assessing the process towards progress that her students underwent while
building their life skills, rather than the final product. What I saw and experienced in this class really
changed the way I think about teaching students with special needs, and opened my eyes to the need
for teachers to really educate themselves on how to teach these students in a differentiated manor
which works best for each of them.

The experience I gained during my time in this Skills for Life as reflected in my blog post is beyond
valuable to my development as a teacher, particularly with regards to my ability to further understand
students with special needs and how to differentiate my teaching methods. TRB Standard #3 focuses on
fostering the development of students as learners and social beings, and this is a skill I have begun to
develop because of my experience in this class. As stated in my blog, one of my sponsor teacher’s main
goals in her class is to help her students become successful members of society which I think links
directly to this standard’s objectives of students growing not just intellectually, but socially as well. I
hope to be the kind of teacher who can also foster this sort of development in my students, and think
this experience was essential for me in learning to prioritize this in my practice for all students.

As briefly mentioned above, this evidence piece appeals my understanding of differentiated

learning. Through working with my sponsor teacher and these students I learned how to deliver content
in many ways to reach many different students with different needs. As mentioned in my blog, there
were up to 14 students in the skills for life class on each given day all of which have very different levels
of cognitive delays and special needs. I could not just use one method of teaching to reach the entire
class, but had to find a way to deliver the subject matter in multiple ways so that each student took as
much out of the lesson as possible. This really helped me understand why differentiated learning is an
important skill to master as a teacher in every lesson that you give. It is important to understand the
different skill levels and learning needs of the students in your class (reading their IEPs and learning
assessments is incredibly important to this understanding) and tailoring your lesson to meet these
needs. I was able to take this knowledge and apply it to lessons that I gave in my other classes at Dover,
where there were also students who needed differentiated lessons to succeed. I hope to further develop
my ability to differentiate my teaching methods as I grow as an educator, to teach not just to the
students who I know can work well within a standard lesson but to those who need special attention as

I think it is essential as a teacher to care about the different needs of our students, and to want to
create an environment where even students with special needs can thrive and prosper. My sponsor
teacher’s recommendation for me to read the book A Loving Push shows me that she has never stopped
educating herself as to the art of being a special education teacher, and this is something I greatly
admire and strive to work towards. It is important to acknowledge that not all students learn the same,
and that it is our responsibility as educators to inform and educate ourselves as to how we can best
teach to their specific needs. I am so happy to have gotten to learn in this class from my sponsor
teacher, and want to make it a personal goal of mine to work just as hard as her to help push my
students towards being successful members of society.

This standard is important to my practice as an educator because it speaks to the idea that we as
teachers must see students as individuals with individual needs. I believe that it is important, although
I’m sure time consuming, to look at the IEPs of all the students in your class and really consider the ways
that you can differentiate your lessons to reach them. I’m sure this is easier said than done, as there can
be multiple IEP students in one class who all have very different needs. I am still not 100% sure that
there is one set way to balance the needs of these students with those of the rest of your class, but my
experience in the Skills for Life class at Dover Bay has given me some ideas on how to work towards
being able to accomplish this. I still have a lot to learn, but am committed to continuing to work towards
being an educator who strives to meet the learning needs of all the students in their class.