Effective teaching necessitates making difficult
and principled choices, exercising careful judgment, and honoring the complex nature of the
educational mission. In addition to the technical knowledge and skills teachers have to use in their
daily practice, they must also be aware of the ethical dimensions of their profession. In this
light, the primary mission is to foster the development of skills, dispositions, and understanding,
while acknowledging thoughtfully and responsibly a wide range of human needs and conditions. Thus,
teachers must master a repertoire of instructional methods and strategies, yet remain critical and
reflective about their practice. Their professional responsibilities focus on educating students, in
addition to participating in wider activities within the school and in partnership with parents and
Based on the latest developments in pedagogy, teaching has become more than an activity that
conserves valued knowledge and skills by transmitting them to succeeding generations. Therefore,
teachers also have the responsibility to challenge existing structures, practices, and definitions
of knowledge; to invent and test new approaches; and, where necessary, to pursue organizational
change in a constant attempt to improve the school. As agents of the public interest in a democracy,
teachers through their work contribute to the dialogue about preserving and improving society, and
they initiate future citizens into this ongoing public discourse.
The professional teaching standards represent the
teaching professionís consensus on the critical aspects of the art and science of teaching
(pedagogy) that characterize accomplished teachers in various fields. Cast in terms of actions that
teachers take to advance student outcomes, these standards also incorporate the essential
pedagogical knowledge, skills, dispositions, and commitments that allow teachers to practice at a
high level. These standards rest on a fundamental philosophical foundation comprised of five core
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and have the necessary
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student
- Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from
- Teachers are members of learning communities.
Effective teachers display skills at creating
curricula designed to build on students' present knowledge and understanding and move them to more
sophisticated and in-depth abilities, knowledge, concepts, and performances. They calibrate their
responses to the interests and ability level of students, designing activities to the latter's
"proximal zone" based on Vygotsky's concept, for learning and development. In addition, these educators employ a range
of instructional strategies and resources to match the variety of student skills and to provide each
student several ways of exploring important ideas, skills, and concepts. They understand how to work
as facilitators, coaches, models, evaluators, managers, and advocates. Moreover, teachers know how
to utilize various forms of play, different strategies for grouping learners, and different types of
media and materials.
Teachers observe and assess students in the
context of ongoing classroom life. They are skilled in collecting and interpreting a variety of
types of evidence to evaluate where each student is in a sequence or continuum of learning and
development. They know how to move from assessment to decisions about curriculum, social support,
and teaching strategies, to increase the prospects for successful learning.
Teachers understand and respect the diverse
cultures, values, languages, and family backgrounds of their students, use community people and
settings as resources for learning, and involve parents and families as active partners in the
students' total development.
Each moment presents the opportunity for teachers
to respond creatively to the unique challenges of classroom life. They are highly sophisticated
analysts who apply observations of individual students and the overall environment to guide their
judgments and responses. They reflect on their own performance in light of student progress, seek
the views of colleagues and parents, and think about trends, options, and the consequences of their
The Five Propositions
of Accomplished Teaching
The National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards seeks to identify and recognize teachers who effectively enhance student learning and
demonstrate the high level of knowledge, skills, abilities, and commitments reflected in the
following five core propositions.
committed to students and their learning
Effective teachers are dedicated to making knowledge
accessible to all students based on their belief that all students can learn. Thus, they treat their
learners equitably by acknowledging individual differences among students. Moreover, they adjust
their practice according to these individual differences 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. Therefore, these educators incorporate the prevailing theories of cognition and
intelligence in their practice. In addition, they are aware of the influence of context and culture
on behavior. Under these general circumstances, teachers develop students' cognitive capacity and
their respect for learning. Equally important, they foster students' self-esteem, motivation,
character, civic responsibility, and their respect for individual, cultural, religious, and racial
Teachers know the
subjects they teach and
have the necessary pedagogical knowledge
Accomplished teachers have a thorough understanding of the subject(s) they
teach and appreciate how knowledge in their subject is created, organized, linked to other
disciplines, and applied to real-world settings. While faithfully representing the collective wisdom
of our culture and upholding the value of disciplinary knowledge, they also develop the critical and
analytical capacities of their students.
Effective teachers master pedagogical knowledge
used to convey and reveal subject matter to students. They are aware of the preconceptions and
background knowledge that students typically bring to each subject and of strategies and
instructional materials that can be of assistance. In addition, they understand and solve the
possible difficulties likely to arise in the classroom and modify their practice accordingly. Their
instructional repertoire allows them to create multiple paths to knowledge, in general, and to the
subjects they teach, in particular.
responsible for managing and
monitoring student learning
Accomplished teachers create, enrich, maintain,
and alter instructional settings, materials, and strategies to capture and sustain the interest of
their students and to make the most effective use of time. They also strive to engage students and
adults in assisting their teaching as well as to enhance their practice with their colleagues'
knowledge and expertise.
Effective teachers command a wide range of generic
instructional techniques and use them appropriately. They manage efficiently both the students and
the learning environment. Thus, instruction is organized and implemented to allow the schools' goals
for students to be met. Educators are able to set the norms for social interaction among students
and between students and teachers. Moreover, they understand how to motivate students to learn and
how to maintain their interest even when facing temporary failure.
Accomplished teachers can assess the progress of
individual students as well as that of the class as a whole. They employ multiple methods for
measuring student growth and understanding and can clearly explain student performance to parents.
Teachers think systematically about their practice
and learn from experience
Effective teachers are models of educated persons,
exemplifying the virtues they seek to inspire in students--curiosity, tolerance, honesty, fairness,
respect for diversity, and appreciation of cultural differences. They also exemplify the
capacities that are prerequisites for intellectual growth--the ability to reason and take multiple
perspectives, to be creative and take risks, and to adopt an experimental and problem-solving
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 grounded not only in the literature,
but also in their experience. They engage in lifelong learning that they seek to encourage in their
Striving to strengthen their teaching, quality
teachers critically examine their practice, seek to expand their repertoire, deepen their knowledge,
sharpen their judgment, and adapt their teaching to new findings, ideas, and theories.
Teachers are members of learning communities
Exemplary teachers contribute to the effectiveness
of the school by working collaboratively with other professionals on instructional policy,
curriculum development, and staff development. They can evaluate school progress and the allocation
of school resources in light of their understanding of state and local educational objectives. They
are knowledgeable about specialized school and community resources that can be engaged for their
students' benefit, and are skilled at employing such resources as needed.
Accomplished teachers find ways to work
collaboratively and creatively with parents, engaging them productively in the proper functioning of