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Tim Brown

SCED 499
InTASC 4 Reflection

Next in line is InTASC standard four which deals with content knowledge. The standard

states “The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the

discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the

discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.” This

essentially states that the instructor must first have a complete understanding of the content they

are teaching. There should be some preparation to ensure that you understand the material you

are teaching and have an adequate understanding in case students ask questions. The second part

of this standard is brief but has immense meaning. Teachers must take into account many

different characteristics of their students as laid out in the previous standards, however this

standard expects teachers to synthesize student differences and take advantage of these

differences to create a more connected lesson yielding content mastery. This can be done using

multiple means of representation, which touches on the key word of the standard, “accessible.”

A simple example of mastery of this standard can be evidenced by a teacher

understanding that a primarily minority class won’t react the same to a lesson that focuses on

concepts they have no connection to. So the teacher makes adjustments to the lesson that cater to

the students’ interests and connections by showing a video that draws parallels to the lesson

being taught and something culturally relevant to the students. In a social studies classroom

specifically, let’s say that you’re teaching a lesson on the principles of government and you’re

teaching it to a class that is mostly black students. The concepts in question are anarchy and
democracy. To teach anarchy to the students, the instructor shows them a video of the Baltimore

riots that took place in 2015 to draw connections to the content since Baltimore is very close by.

Since the students are familiar with Baltimore and many have familial connections, they take a

keen interest into content that they would otherwise be turned off to.

This standard highlights a key disconnect between the student and connection to the

content and for this reason its importance is immense. Students have a tendency to pay more

attention to material that they can relate to and can draw connections from. The problem is that

the content on the surface can be dull and dry and getting students to be excited to learn is

difficult. That’s why on top of being understanding of what you’re students connect to, you must

also have a mastery in the content yourself otherwise designing activities to accommodate other

students connections can be impossible if you aren’t sure what you want them to get from a

given lesson. Having an understanding of both of these ideas is a key part in being an effective

and engaging teacher.