What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do

What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do

By: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Policy Position (Five Core Propositions)The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards seeks to identify and recognize teacherswho effectively enhance student learning and demonstrate the high level of knowledge, skills,abilities and commitments reflected in the following five core propositions.

1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning.Accomplished teachers are dedicated to making knowledge accessible to all students. They acton the belief that all students can learn. They treat students equitably, recognizing the individualdifferences that distinguish one student from another and taking account of these differences intheir practice. They adjust their practice based on observation and knowledge of their students’interests, abilities, skills, knowledge, family circumstances and peer relationships.Accomplished teachers understand how students develop and learn. They incorporate the prevailingtheories of cognition and intelligence in their practice. They are aware of the influence ofcontext and culture on behavior. They develop students’ cognitive capacity and their respect forlearning. Equally important, they foster students’ self-esteem, motivation, character, civic responsibilityand their respect for individual, cultural, religious and racial differences.

2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.Accomplished teachers have a rich understanding of the subject(s) they teach and appreciatehow knowledge in their subject is created, organized, linked to other disciplines and applied toreal-world settings. While faithfully representing the collective wisdom of our culture and upholdingthe value of disciplinary knowledge, they also develop the critical and analytical capacitiesof their students.Accomplished teachers command specialized knowledge of how to convey and reveal subjectmatter to students. They are aware of the preconceptions and background knowledge that studentstypically bring to each subject and of strategies and instructional materials that can be ofassistance. They understand where difficulties are likely to arise and modify their practice accordingly.Their instructional repertoire allows them to create multiple paths to the subjects they teach,and they are adept at teaching students how to pose and solve their own problems.

3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.Accomplished teachers create, enrich, maintain and alter instructional settings to capture and sustainthe interest of their students and to make the most effective use of time. They also are adeptat engaging students and adults to assist their teaching and at enlisting their colleagues’ knowledgeand expertise to complement their own. Accomplished teachers command a range ofgeneric instructional techniques, know when each is appropriate and can implement them asneeded. They are as aware of ineffectual or damaging practice as they are devoted to elegantpractice.They know how to engage groups of students to ensure a disciplined learning environment, andhow to organize instruction to allow the schools’ goals for students to be met. They are adept atsetting norms for social interaction among students and between students and teachers. Theyunderstand how to motivate students to learn and how to maintain their interest even in the faceof temporary failure.What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to DoNational Board for Professional Teaching Standards®3Accomplished teachers can assess the progress of individual students as well as that of the class as awhole. They employ multiple methods for measuring student growth and understanding and can clearlyexplain student performance to parents.

4. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.Accomplished teachers are models of educated persons, exemplifying the virtues they seek to inspirein students — curiosity, tolerance, honesty, fairness, respect for diversity and appreciation of cultural differences– and the capacities that are prerequisites for intellectual growth: the ability to reason andtake multiple perspectives to be creative and take risks, and to adopt an experimental and problemsolvingorientation.Accomplished teachers draw on their knowledge of human development, subject matter and instruction,and their understanding of their students to make principled judgments about sound practice.Their decisions are not only grounded in the literature, but also in their experience. They engage inlifelong learning which they seek to encourage in their students.Striving to strengthen their teaching, accomplished teachers critically examine their practice, seek toexpand their repertoire, deepen their knowledge, sharpen their judgment and adapt their teaching tonew findings, ideas and theories.

5. Teachers are members of learning communities.Accomplished teachers contribute to the effectiveness of the school by working collaboratively withother professionals on instructional policy, curriculum development and staff development. They canevaluate school progress and the allocation of school resources in light of their understanding of stateand local educational objectives. They are knowledgeable about specialized school and communityresources that can be engaged for their students’ benefit, and are skilled at employing such resourcesas needed.Accomplished teachers find ways to work collaboratively and creatively with parents, engaging themproductively in the work of the school. More