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Knowledge Base and Learning Cycle

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The Knowledge Base underpins the Beginning Educator Outcomes (proficiencies). They address Content, Learner and the Learning Environment, the Teaching and Learning Process, and Professionalism. The Learning Cycle is the process through which students acquire the knowledge base. The Cycle guides learning on different levels, starting with an awareness of information and continuing until students can utilize new information in their own teaching experiences. This equips beginning teachers with the theory and the skills necessary to apply it in the classroom. The Beginning Educator Outcomes (BEOs) and the Learning Cycle comprise the content of and process for acquiring the Knowledge Bases.

The Beginning Educator Outcomes are divided into 4 areas and encompass the knowledge base with which a candidate is expected to graduate. The areas are Content, Learner and Learning Environment, the Teaching and Learning Process, and Professionalism.

Content

All beginning educators need to have a command of their subject area(s) and be prepared to teach that content at different levels. Effective teaching of subject material goes beyond the dissemination of facts and extends to the ability to have students explore theoretical aspects of the discipline. Understanding interconnections between theirs and related disciplines enhances the effectiveness of the education and learning of the students. Beginning educators must also be able to use the resources and tools related to their discipline.

Learner and the Learning Environment

Beginning educators will be better prepared to meet the goal of being an effective teacher if they believe in, have knowledge of, and are able to apply the most current research and theories related to learners and effective learning environments. Included in this is research and theory related to human development, intelligences, learning styles, developmentally appropriate practices, exceptionalities, diversity, positive class climate, communication, prosocial behavior, and conflict resolution to their classroom practices and environment. These all critically impact the learning of individual students and must be strong components of an effective teacher education program.

The Teaching and Learning Process

Teachers who plan instruction thoroughly in a variety of ways have students who achieve more. A review of the research on the teaching and learning process emphasizes the role thorough planning plays in the increase of student achievement and the development of a positive classroom environment. Research suggests that teachers who plan on a daily basis and in detail are more successful in achieving lesson goals and objectives (Clark & Yinger, 1979). In writing these objectives in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of learning, educators can more effectively structure the curriculum and plan for instruction (Jones, Jones, & Vermette, 2011; Wiles & Bondi, 1998). Additionally, others have found that beginning and tenured teachers who wrote daily lesson plans reported that they experienced greater success in meeting lesson objectives (Rosenberg, O’Shea, & O’Shea, 1998). It is imperative that beginning educators learn how to plan focused, detailed lessons on a daily basis in order to meet success as teachers.

Professionalism

Research on professionalism encompasses those learner outcomes that focus on data management, school and community relationships, adherence to ethical and professional standards, and ongoing professional development. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on the role of educator as an advocate for students and for quality educational services, both within the school and the larger community.

Learning Cycle

From the onset of entry into a teacher education program, students, along with the faculty, engage in a dynamic learning process. The Beginning Educator Outcomes embody this cyclic, interactive view of learning. The cycle of learning involves internal (reflective) and external (deliberate and social) experiences that begin in awareness, move through exploration and elaboration, and finally lead to utilization. Opportunities to become reflective and deliberate decision-makers are incorporated throughout the cycle.

The Learning Cycle is a continuous process that students use whenever they acquire a new skill or gain new knowledge. This happens in both discrete (lessons, Units of study) and more encompassing (semester courses, years in program) contexts. Experiences at each level actually create new awareness and connections between and among knowledge, skills, and beliefs. This cyclical process occurs over time and reflects movement from learning that is governed by one's own personal beliefs, experiences, and preconceptions to learning that is more refined, synthesized, and reflective of current research and application to real life contexts. Therefore, the complex process of decision-making becomes more reflective and deliberate as students have more experiences and opportunities to move through the cycle.

The students use the Learning Cycle to acquire the knowledge base. The Cycle guides learning on different levels, starting with an awareness of information and continuing until students can utilize new information in their own teaching experiences. This equips beginning teachers with the theories and the skills necessary to apply the knowledge base in the classroom. The Learning Cycle has four stages: Awareness, Exploration, Elaboration, and Utilization.