: How will your students' overall performance improve as a result of technology?
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A: I believe my students' performance will improve in three specific areas.
One, students will have increased opportunities to become more actively engaged in the dynamics of a lesson. Technology will offer them an array of information available nowhere else. Second, I believe technology will help me help my students improve their thinking skills as well as their problem solving abilities. Through the use of technology, we will be able to focus on higher-level thinking skills that go beyond rote memorization into discovery and exploration. And, third, it will provide me with some incredible opportunities to differentiate my instruction. I'll be able to use technological resources to target specific students with specific instructional options. I was able to incorporate all these concepts into a unique project during my student teaching experience. The project, which we named "Explorers for Hire," was developed as part of our social studies unit on the exploration of the New World. Students had to obtain information from the Internet about specific explorers and write personal biographies. They each took on the role of a specific explorer and applied for a selected exploration in the form of special documents and records, mapped and tracked their routes of exploration, planned their voyages and the supplies they would need, and reported the results of their exploration. The students embraced the project enthusiastically, and it generated a new interest in social studies.
In your response to this question, you need to include two things. One, you must demonstrate your knowledge of technology and its instructional advantages. And, two, you must provide the interviewer with a specific example of how you put those principles into practice. In other words, you must be able to "talk the talk and walk the walk."
FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK:
"We once interviewed a young lady who told us she was well-versed in technology; she told us she could operate a CD player and use an overhead projector."
: What is your philosophy regarding homework?
A: I believe that the value of homework is threefold. One, homework helps students develop good study habits. Two, especially if it is interesting and relevant, homework fosters positive attitudes toward school. And, three, homework communicates to students that learning happens in and outside of school.
You should anticipate getting one or two questions regarding homework. Different schools have different philosophies about homework, and it would certainly be to your advantage to know what the homework policy is of a school you are interviewing with long before the interview. You'll find it much easier to answer this question if you do.
: How much homework will you assign your students?
A: In our "Curriculum and Instruction" course, we learned that there is a positive correlation between homework as a learning tool and student achievement in the classroom. However, we also learned that the amount of homework assigned needs to be tailored to the students' age and grade level. So how much homework should I assign my students? Although there is no definitive answer, I'd like to use a simple formula that Dr. Graber shared with us. That is "Homework = Grade Level X 10." This means that the amount of after- school homework (in minutes) is equal to the grade taught times 10. Since this position is for fifth grade, that would mean that I would assign approximately 50 minutes of homework per evening (5th grade X 10 = 50 minutes), including all subjects collectively: reading, math, science, and social studies.
It is always to your advantage to cite some pertinent research, a professor, or another authority in the field. This lets the interviewer know that you just didn't make up your answer on the spot, but that you are aware of some evidence to back up your response.