Three Teacher Phases

From Beginner to Expert, Successful Teachers Progress Through Three Phases

Phase 1: "Will I make it through this class?"
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Phase 2: "Did I cover all the lesson correctly?"
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Phase 3: "Have the students learned the skills? To what level of competence?"

General Timeline Of The Three Phases
Allow About 10 Years

Teachers must go through three developmental phases in order to become successful at educating. The first phase is commonly experienced during undergraduate, pre-service teaching, and into the first few years of professional employment. The second phase may happen around the five-year point, and the third phase should be continuous thereafter throughout one's entire career. The art and act of teaching is not optimally successful unless the third phase is reached and maintained through continuous expanding of one's knowledge and teaching skills through purposeful, professional development. If you currently teach, what plans have you made for your ongoing professional development? Effective teaching is life-long learning!

Will I Make It Through This Class?
Focus On Self

Phase 1: A beginning teacher first focuses totally on his or her self, "Will I get through this class?" They are usually "shaking in their boots" as they subconsciously or consciously ponder these questions. "Will I make it alive through this?" "I know I'm just going die of fright!" "What if my mind goes totally blank?" "What if the students riot?" "How can I cover over my fear(s) and nervousness with hyped-up enthusiasm so the students can't tell?"

Did I Teach All The Lesson Correctly?
Focus On Lesson Content

Phase 2: A developing teacher focuses on the material and content, "Did I cover all the lesson?" "Oh no, I forgot to say... I forgot to explain... I lost their attention when..." At the close of a lesson, (s)he tends to experience regrets for having missed a part or for having realized (s)he could have said something better. A phase 2 teacher focuses on what is being taught (the subject content).

Have The Students Learned The Skills? To What Level Of Competence?
Focus On Students' Learning

Phase 3: An expert teacher, having mastered self and the content, focuses instead on his/her students' quality of learning. (S)he immediately knows how to remediate weaknesses or inaccuracies as needed, as well as extend excellences that occur. An expert teacher continuously thinks forwards and backwards during the act of teaching. "Have my students shown me they learned the skill(s) and at what level of competence?" "Is this an acceptable demonstration of excellence?" "How will I immediately remediate whatever is not?" "What correctives have I planned?" "If the students are spectacular, how will I creatively extend what they did to a higher skill competency?"

Post Script To Phase 3
Skill Mastery, Competency, And Excellence Defined

Whenever "skill mastery" or "competency" or "excellence" are mentioned in these web pages, in this writer's opinion, they mean 100% perfection across the class or no less than 99%. It is not OK if even one student is almost in tune, or almost on the beat. And yes, EVERY child can achieve this! Even special needs children of any category achieve this, who simply take a little longer with more careful learning steps. (See $1500 Grant from Arts in Special Education in "Awards, Grants, & Citations," and The Magic Flute in "Supplementary Books.") Music is absolute--black and white--either totally correct or completely unacceptable. Unacceptable is never a failure, but only a short learning step or two from perfection. When students are taught this in the formal education setting of a music classroom from earliest Kindergarten onward, their music listening, discerning, and performing skills become artistically phenomenal. When each skill becomes well mastered, then it is permissible to advance to the next skill or level. Excellence is an every day mode of operation. One should teach according to skill mastery, not calendar weeks.

Self-Reflection And Self-Assessment
Continuously Evaluate

Anyone who is a teacher, involved in any kind of teaching situation, must continuously ask him/herself several evaluative questions, "At which phase do I teach?" "How will I progress to the next phase?" "How do I determine, and am I determining, if my students are learning skills successfully?" "At what competence level are they performing the music skills?" Many teachers progress successfully to phase 2, but seem to stay there, never entering phase 3. Not only should a teacher enter phase 3, focusing on the students' skill-competence levels, but should also guide the students from basic discrimination learning into the highest artistic inferential learning levels of playing, performing, creating, arranging, improvising, composing, notating, and beyond that, the Aesthetic Experience.

© 2018 Knauss Curriculum Publishing