Needs Assessment

Teachers should strive to improve themselves as professionals constantly. Before a teacher can make this progress, they must first outline the areas they must focus on. I have reviewed the INTASC standards chosen for CIMT 300/368 and have come to some of the following conclusions regarding my own professional growth.

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.
I have had many wonderful experiences at Indiana State University. The instruction has been stellar, and the professors have been excellent. I believe that I possess a large amount of knowledge in the field of music education. However, this knowledge does me no good if I cannot transfer it to my students. To better myself in this standard, experience is necessary. I have had many opportunities thus far (private teaching, band camps, etc.) to experience different learning situations. With more opportunities in the future, I will develop more of these concepts.
Principle 3:
The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
Through my experience private instructing, working band camps, and helping beginners, I have developed a good personal understanding of what diverse learning is. It disappoints me greatly to see any teacher, especially one in music, that tries to force-feed their students in a manner that the students do not grasp. We have to be aware and sensitive to the many different ways students process the knowledge we give them. Versatility is a key to good instruction. I believe that this is a strong point of mine.
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 standard ties in with #3. I have a good awareness of the learning diversity of the classroom. However, I am lacking of solid and true ideas and procedures that can be applied to these students that will harness critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. These, however, are being addressed in CIMT3/368.
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.
The field of music fits in this standard like a glove. The success of the subject matter we instruct relies on whether or not students actively participate in it. The students will not progress very fast when they first begin in music, and without motivation from their teacher, friends, and themselves, they will quit. It is extremely important that the music educator provide situations that will keep the students spirits and interests high. Through my experience in marching band and private instruction, I have some experience in this standard. In music, however, one can never have too much.
Principle 6:
The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques.
Nonverbal communication is exactly what directors have to do!! We must convey meaning and emotion with nothing but dots on a page and a stick in our hand. Without this, the band, orchestra, or choir will fail. Experience on the podium will provide me the opportunity to harness this skill.
Principle 7:
The teacher plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.
Once a music teacher has an active awareness of the music standards, planning lessons becomes much easier. It is involving the community and students that becomes the hard part. The community is the audience that comes to the concerts. Their involvement in music instruction is near the top of the pyramid. I must develop ways to effectively involve the community in the instruction and education of my students.
Principle 8:
The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
The process of assessment in music is an ever-present and constantly ongoing one. Students play music, judge whether or not it was to the quality they want, and fix accordingly. I need to better understand how I can use this ongoing assessment as a tool for instruction.
Principle 9:
The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
This final INTASC standard is a good one to end with. It sums up all the above standards and asks the teacher to decide on the worth of their decisions inside each standard. #9 asks us to think about the ones our choices affect the people around them. I will gain more knowledge of this standard through the application of the standards above.