Foundations of Teaching (Ed 264a)

Important thinkers

John Dewey , b. 1859 – 1952
Important pragmatic philosopher

Makes the analogy that teaching is like selling, you need a "buyer" in order to sell something. If you say you sold something, but nobody bought it, you really haven't sold anything. Unless there's learning, there isn't teaching.

Israel Scheffler
The activity of teaching----> aimed at achievement of learning, practiced with respect for students' intellectual integrity, independent judgment (which differentiates it from propaganda, conditioning, etc.)
Manner/war---benchmarks, respect intellectual integrity/independent judgment
  • Teaching with intellectual integrity:
    • taking ideas seriously
    • taking the work of learning seriously
    • having patience shows that you respect the process of learning
    • allow for mistakes
    • risk taking--for new ideas, mistakes, playing with ideas, believing in new ideas
    • trusting the students to think things out for themselves

Ball Video

  • How she stated her intentions: "I want everyone to be quiet because..."
  • She connected what one student was saying with another student
  • She responded to some students' answers and passed over others
  • Calm, age appropriate language and manner
  • She waited, had long pauses
  • She did not give up on Shea, let him think out his answer
  • Set-up of the classroom, arrangement of space, students facing board
  • Called on students by name
  • Talked about the process of listening, focused on process, de-emphasized the solution


  • Goals and ideas
    • language and manner as tool
  • On-your-feet assessment: calling on certain students
  • Inclusion: calling on 'shy' students, group dynamic
  • interactive teaching

6/25 Class Notes


  • (one or two students presents one or two big ideas from our conversation, 5 minute presentation)
Teaching is intentional, goal directed (not a mindless set of techniques)
  • Teaching is carried out in ways that respect students' minds, capacity to think critically and independently


  • from Mrs. Ball's classroom shed light on the work of teaching
  • arranges the physical environment
  • controls who gets to speak
  • uses self as instrument
  • uses language as a central tool
  • frames goals for learning
  • makes decisions inside the action, on your feet
  • must attend to individuals and to the group


  • "Good Teachers Always Know Their Material"
  • Reasons for believing this: good teachers should know and understand the material to be prepared for student inquiry.


  • Making a text--journals, videos, logs, etc
  • Holding it still--examining the text, stepping outside the classroom
  • "Gripping" is bringing a text of teaching (journal, video, etc.) into the framework of another point of view.
    • bringing Mrs. Ball video to the standards set out by Israel Scheffler
    • asking his questions -- is she respecting students' intellectual integrity and independent judgement?
  • Doubting: takes precedence when examining texts. Ask questions like, "did I really teach them? Did they learn?" Allows for assessment of students as a tool for assessing teaching


  • seeing
  • simplifying
  • sense-making
  • how can I observe teaching in order to discover ways to see/simplify/make sense
  • how are those same processes done by teachers and students
  • describe what you see and hear, look for facts
  • make interpretations
  • make value judgments
  • observe to look out and to look inward, to check/adjust/confirm

Class Notes 7/2

Recap from last class
"I, Thou, It"
Concepts: I & Thou refer to teacher-student, whereas it refers to another, an outside "it"
What is "it"? The subject matter, the teaching moment, etc... The it can be one tangible thing, and one intangible shape.
Teacher has a relationship with the content, and has to find new and unique ways to represent the concepts staying true to the students' abilities, ways in which they learn, and in an engaging way.

Ayers recap
Challenging and supporting: seeing what's there. What can we learn from this idea even though it's not mine.
Gripping: taking a still moment from teaching (such as the Mrs. Ball video) and gripping it and putting it next to the Ayers text.

Levels of observation:
  1. Facts: active seeing/listening
    • pay attention to what we see and hear and try to make sense of it
  2. Interpretation
    • drawing inferences, filling in space, using evidence
  3. Evaluation
    • expressing value, judging

Methods for taking notes during lesson observation (write down what the teachers says on the first day)
  • is the teacher using a management technique?
  • are students paying attention?
  • did the teacher or student ask a good question?
  • seating chart

Observations of Mrs. Ball's class
Description of what you see & hear
T (teacher), S (student), S1 (student 1), S3b (student 3, boy), separate by lesson
Reactions: !/? what to explore further
computation problems, 3rd grade class: if I have pennies, nickels & dimes in my pocket, if I pull 3 coins out, how much $ could I have?

has student read problem
helps with other skills
asks Shea for possible answer, & writes on board
includes other S's
asks for S-g to agree, and why, explain computation
reinforces comp skills
small grp work with coins
grp work, mgmt
props to work with
$ - distraction
called on Shea again, asked for prediction of possible solutions

asks why Shea thinks the answer is ten

asks Liz for response, made sure ppl can hear her, said "I'm not sure Burnadette heard you"
didn't tell her she was wrong
coins = distraction, emphasized listening to others, gave reason for it, wasn't reprimanding. "It might help you with your thinking"
gave reasons for listening
Students talking in full thoughts - Shakira said, "when you think you have them all, you can check with other students"

Students not directly interacting, but through teacher "I agree with her"

Students building on one another's answers, "I agree" or "I don't know"

Ogechi chose not to have someone else figure out how she got to $0.30

David rose his hand to respond to Gillian, but instead gave his own answer

Teacher's idea of student interaction was listening to one another
teacher's idea about student interaction

Instruction as Interaction of Teachers, Students and Content in Environments
Teacher -
Student/s - students decide how to treat a new teacher, students can shape the environment
Subject matter -
Environment - classroom setup, physical arrangement, posters on the wall, etc

Class Notes 7/14

Characteristics of a good teacher:
Mrs. Nestler: always had tricks up her sleeve, with math, whenever I was done with a problem she would give me another one (more challenging) to work on
She created a good classroom culture among the students (only five of us!) and made us feel like partners in the classroom.
I remember being really excited to write book reports!

DeLeT Standards and Elements

A good beginning day school teacher...
Standard 1: Knows children as learners
  • gets to know children as individuals and learners, with diverse intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs
  • refines knowledge of learning and child development through interactions with students
  • uses knowledge of children as learners in planning and teaching
  • maintains open communication and works with families and caregivers to support student learning
  • respects and learns about families' diverse religious practices, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and family structures
Standard 2: Builds a classroom learning community rooted in Jewish experiences and values
  • infuses Jewish experiences and values into the learning environment
  • creates an emotionally safe culture of learning that promotes intellectual risk-taking
  • encourages democratic processes and habits
  • establishes and maintains clear expectations and consequences for individual and group behavior
  • develops procedures for the smooth operation of the classroom and the efficient use of time
  • arranges the physical environment to support student learning
Standard 3: Knows subject matter for teaching
  • assesses and develops subject matter knowledge
  • acquires and uses subject-specific pedagogy
  • aligns instructional content with standards
Standard 4: Plans for student learning
  • frames clear, developmentally appropriate, and worthwhile goals for student learning
  • designs short- and long-term plans that foster student inquiry and understanding
  • organizes coherent lessons and plans for the "particulars"
  • uses materials and resources to make subject matter accessible to all students
  • plans assessment and instruction in tandem
  • connects information and ideas within and across subjects and between general and Jewish studies
Standard 5: Teaches for understanding
  • builds on students' prior knowledge, life experiences, and interests
  • monitors and maintains students' intellectual engagement
  • adjusts instruction based on ongoing assessment
Standard 6: Assesses student learning
  • uses a variety of formal and informal assessments to monitor student learning
  • provides students with criteria and informative feedback to guide their learning and involve them in self-assessment
  • uses the results of assessments to inform future planning and instruction
Standard 7: Develop as a professional Jewish educator
  • exhibits professional judgment and behavior
  • collaborates with colleagues to support and improve student learning
  • demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning as a Jew
  • demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning as an educator

Class Notes 7/16

Building a classroom community: Charney's idea of a classroom community in a Jewish lens
"Passing on an affection for moral and ethical behavior" (p.13)

Sherill: a student is having trouble with an independent writing project. The writing project is hard for her because she feels like she doesn't have any friends (she tries to distract other children, knocks over some folders), so the teacher offers her a target to write to, this getting her back on track.
Water Table: a student pushes his boundaries with a choice activity with water. The student pushes the rules, until students get wet. She tells him that he is conducting some interesting experiments, and also not following the rules, and hopes he will choose to follow the rules next time.
Good Morning: we say things for a reason, and it's important to recognize to greet one another. She says that she's happy to see them, which is why she says good morning. It's good to know and acknowledge one another. Fostering connectedness and community.

Get together into two groups: Chapter 1 and 2.
Frame the Claire video with two or three questions form Chapter 2.

Big ideas:
  • I see everything you do.
  • We are teaching children appropriate attitudes by presenting ways in which they can behave rather than pointing out poor behavior
  • Reinforce, remind and redirect

Claire's classroom:
First six weeks in Claire's classroom:
From Chapter 2:
  • What expectations and norms does she set and how does she do it? Does she state rules explicitly? Does she model behavior? Scaffolding?
    • she teaches the children that everyone will have the chance to do everything, and that it's not just the strongest kids who get to participate
  • How is she teaching the students to work in small groups? What kind of modeling, if any? As a whole class? Work independently?
  • How does she let the students know that she sees them, and what does she learn from watching?
From Chapter 1:
  • How does she foster the creation of self-control in individual students?
  • How does Claire foster the creation of a caring community?
  • Does Claire get to know her students? How does she do this? How does she use this knowledge?

Claire video: The whole school meets together, giving the children a sense of one another's lives. The older children take an interest in the younger children, and the younger children can look up to the older children.
First day of school
  • everyone will have a chance to do things
  • getting children to recognize one another, and interact, and are okay with who they are
  • have the children line up by height, and choose desks according to how comfortable it will be for their height
  • The first thing you have to prepare is the group, not the academics
  • the big thing is the attitude they have and their eagerness to try
  • important to get to know how they
  • doesn't want to start with reading groups because the children will start to feel the differences, and get paralyzed by being the worst or the best
  • When kids are doing a lot of activities, you have to work more to find the structure
  • Voice quality: not talking down to them, not being demanding, talking directly to the children about what they are doing
  • parent/community involvement

Teaching discipline requires empathy and structure.
Where do we see structure in Claire's classroom?
Ayers: good teachers and classroom management
Charney: first six weeks teaching discipline
What's the relationship between instruction and management.

Class Notes 7/21


Claire's class: breaking down the lines between personal life and school life:
Sending the students home to look for things from India.

Reviewing what they now know about India versus what they knew before. (Comparing the two cultures: American versus India.)
Bringing home family assignments.

Singing together: building community in a group.

Class Notes 7/23
Teacher questions:
How does my teacher build community? teach self control? understand what it means to be a learner? communicate expectations? engage the students? establish norms, routines and procedures?