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IThe Interstate New Teacher Assessment

The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), is a program developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. It offers its services to state education agencies and institutions that are genuinely interested in the professional development of teachers, as a model to re-examine the respective standards of various states, for the licensing of new teachers and working in conjunction with these bodies to enhance the performance levels of teachers and create models designed to help them achieve realistic objectives.

The consortium established a task force which comprised of various states and educational organisations. Its purpose was to set model standards that would meet the requirements of the National Board on the licensing of teachers which could be a guideline and reference point for various state agencies and educational organisations to utilise as a model in implementing their own standards. It was established that there was the need to have a common core, which was well-known across the sphere of teaching, whether in general or specialty areas.

In other words, this served as core and foundational principles that teachers, irrespective of their specialty, are expected to be aware of. It had the advantages of forming a central point establishing value systems for all teachers and opening up possibilities for assessment of teachers in unique fields, building on from the foundation which they share with other teachers, which in turns creates uniformity in outlook and scope.

The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) is under the current sponsorship by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing and Development were developed as performance-based measures to guide and regulate the teaching practice at all levels and ensure that the recipients of education in institutions have their potentials piqued to the highest attainable standards in a very dynamic and knowledge-based world.

In the past, it was possible to find institutions where the attitudes of the teachers were to endeavour that the curriculums were duly completed and this was seen as the criteria for gauging the quality of their interaction with the needs of students. However, with the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing and Development, it is now a highly performance-driven mechanism which sees to it that students are imparted with knowledge and are motivated towards excellence in all aspects of their academic work.

The standards detail the demands and expectations placed on the teacher, in terms of what they should be aware of and practical ways to help them achieve the goals of conveying knowledge to students under their tutelage. These standards are in line with the approach used by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards which emphasises the importance of development of the abilities of teachers rather than just on the amount of hours the actually work. The impact of this has helped to clarify the assessment and licensing requirements of the National Board.

Five proposals were put forward by the National Board which formed the basis for establishing these standards of assessment and learning. Firstly, it proposed a strong commitment on the part of the teacher to the learning needs of the students. Secondly, the teachers are expected to know what they are teaching and impart the knowledge of the subject to a broad scope of students. Thirdly, it proposed to have teachers in charge of every aspect of their students’ learning by effectively monitoring and managing the process of learning of these students.

Fourthly, teachers are expected to think systematically and learn from past experiences. Finally, the proposal was to have teachers as members of a wider learner community. In working with the National Board, the consortium has successfully resolved the issues which arose with ‘board-compatibility’, including the licensing versus certification issue and the beginner versus advanced issue. The former saw newly-qualified teachers readily licensed by states, who might not have had previous professional certifications by the education boards.

The latter focused on the stages in the career of a teacher, when licensing requirements should apply – whether at the entry stage or at an advanced stage when greater level of experience have been gained. These hurdles would be easily overcome by having the performance-based standards, which do not rely on age, or length of service alone, but also on the thorough application of knowledge in a practicable way, to enrich the lives of students while at the same time seeking personal and professional development. Review of the Standards.

There are ten standards in total. These are stated and analyzed below: Principle 1: The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students. This principle summarizes the most vital element of the role of the teacher. Confident in the knowledge of the chosen discipline, it is now a responsibility of the teacher to possess all the relevant information at their finger tips.

It is therefore their task to undergo a thorough analysis of the discipline and rise to the challenge of being creative and diverse in compiling resources and presentation of topics in this discipline. Emphasis should be placed on the need for versatility and originality in sharing concepts, views and ideas. Principle 2: The teacher understands how children learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development. A constant awareness of the needs of the students is a pre-requisite for reaching out to them.

Understanding their learning process and how they think, conduct their school work and assignments throughout and how they relate are aspects which need not be neglected. The reason for this is because it becomes easier to relate to the student and reach out to their unique mode of learning, when they are understood. This understanding in return, provides opportunities to design customized learning techniques which will tremendously facilitate the designated learning objectives of the student. Principle 3: The teacher understands how students differ in their

approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners. It is imperative that time and effort on the part of the teacher is invested in getting acquainted with their students. Each student has a unique experience and potential. New areas should be continually explored and at the same time, the established capabilities should be tapped into. There are rewarding opportunities to discover factual details about the student and it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that no opportunity is neglected and to develop the ambition in the student through innovative means.

The cultural and social experiences and aspirations should be harnessed. Physical, mental and social differences are to be investigated and converted into favorable chances to implant a wealth of information. Principle 4: The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. This is where the true test of a teacher is found. There must be strategies and techniques that are employed, in order to grasp the attention of the listener.

The educational system is no longer about using one major methodology or principle to instruct various categories of students. It can be very evasive using such teaching styles, because of the various requirements of individuals. There are certain times that a method can be easy to relate with. However, at other times it is not understood. The role of the teacher is to have many techniques for various topics and be willing to instruct in a flexible style. The availability of a wide range of useful resources makes it imperative that instructional abilities are tested to the limits.

Where a method does not work, a teacher should be keen to explore new methods and make it very appealing and challenging to the students. It is incredible to note the amount of students who are content with being another just another number in the crowd. Whatever method that is used should enable the students to devise a critical mind and know when to destroy wrong notions and put forth prognosis and concepts that will make a positive impact in this world.

When we analyse great minds and geniuses throughout history, these individuals were able to challenge existing misconceptions and put forward, valid theories suggestive of analytical thinking and a determination to make a mark in their generation. This should be noted by teachers in every aspect, as they help shape students of different ages into the people of the future. Principle 5: The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

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