Ron Stanfield

RON STANFIELD:


My name is Ron Stanfield.  I’m the Coordinator for Educator Licensing for the State Office of Education.

Well I think when, as you look at education and, um, uh---being qualified is a term I use in licensing, that you really are a life-long learner.  Uh, that it---you have to have the capability--- (interrupted)

One of the attributes of being a---a well-prepared teacher, well-qualified teacher, would be that you’d be a life-long learner.  Uh, have those skills and abilities to, uh, always search for knowledge, always learning, uh, like I say, a life-tong---time learner.  Uh, I think when we---we get into the qualifications for licensing, which is the area I’m dealing with, uh, really look at content competency.  That you understand the subject matter, uh, have competency in that area, that, uh, an---a teacher needs to know the developmental levels of students.  Under---understand the background, what it takes for an elementary level or a secondary level person.  Uh, and I think, obviously, a---a well-prepared teacher must have the skills and ability, uh, to be an instructional person that can handle that, can do that, um, uh, and I think we talked about it as---as far as competence and caring, uh, person.

OK.  I---I think in looking at the preparation of a teacher and the expectations of a university, uh, I really look at the development of a teacher in a continuum.  Uh, may---you may say that the professional, educator, learning continuum, that it really involves more than just a pre-service, university experience.  Uh, and I---I would say that you really start with the attributes and, uh, uh, characteristic, that you come into an education program.  You go through a pre-service experience.  Uh, once completed then you get into an induction and support, uh, experience as a new teacher, learning the role, uh, to, uh, become a teacher and then the continuing professional development.  So I---I really don’t single out, uh, one piece of it as a university.  Uh, so I---I think as a whole combination of life-long learning, going through the different phases. Uh, as we learn, as we begin to exercise and implement some of our skills we recognize that there may be some shortages in---in our learning.  So once again we become a reflective learner, we---we look at those areas that we need to learn more about.  We continue to study.  We learn more.  And to me this is an ongoing thing, that, uh, the teacher is never through learning.  That, uh, through the continued professional development, uh, I think we just add, uh, add more and more as we learn and progress.

I think, uh, as a grandparent, or as a parent, uh, watching a child in---in an---a school setting.  And to really know if they’re prepared or not is---is---you need to see the result.  And I think in---in doing so you---you look at the experience that the---that the grandchild is going through.  And a good example, I have is---is, uh, we have two grandchildren from Mexico.  Uh, both are bilingual, uh, have struggled a little bit with the language and it---with the education experience.  And, uh, in---in one particular grade we---we sensed that something was wrong.  Uh, the granddaughter came home, didn’t like school, was in tears, didn’t want to go back to school.  Uh, something was happening and it just wasn’t working.  So as we met with the teacher, uh, explored the options, uh, found what was happening and then really focused on the reading, uh, lit---literacy piece.  How well she was reading and---and to the teacher, uh, he felt like she was OK, that she was doing well, that, uh, had the skills and, uh---of course our comment was that we know she’s a very articulate young lady and she does well in a---an adult setting and---is---speaks very well.  And, uh, we sort of pushed a little bit with the teacher.  Now, what makes you sure that this, uh, this daughter, or our st---our granddaughter is doing OK?  Well, uh, she reads well, she expresses well, she understands everything and so we still didn’t feel real comfortable with---with, uh, with that and---and then of course went to the reading specialist.  Really looking deeper for some---some---some type of assessment measures and found out that this third grader was on a .9 reading level.  Uh, and you can imagine as, my wife is an educator, two educators just looking at a third grade student that’s really struggling.  And obviously the teacher was not aware of some of these skills and, uh, and actually she was lost in the crowd.  And so we pushed the issue there and---and really looked at the possibility of---actually we---we looked---pushed the issue of---of moo----moving the granddaughter into a teacher, uh, setting with an ESL background.  That had the---the proper training to deal with a limited English proficient student.  And, uh, by making the switch the teacher was able to address her needs much better, uh, met with her after school, helped with the tutoring and---and did bring her up to the second grade level, uh, grade level.  So, uh, with that I’m a firm believer and teachers need to have the skills and ability to address the various needs of---of our students.  And in this particular case it was a limited English proficient student that was falling behind in reading and---and needed the extra help.  And needed the expertise of a teacher that knew what they were doing.  A teacher that was able to assess the situation, uh, apply the proper skills and, uh, techniques to deal with it.  Add, uh, the proper materials and uh---and the follow through to make the---sure that she, uh, uh, advanced in those skills.

I think in any outside experience or exchange with an individual that would---would be a clue for me to recognize that they’re well prepared is---is the conversation.  Their actions, uh, a sense of caring, a sense of interested in---interest in---in young people, a sense of interest in education, uh, a spark of enthusiasm, uh, certainly through the personality.   You know, we’re asking for teachers that---that relate well with our young people.  That have---have an interest in young people and exude that type of, uh, ex---in---excitement and enthusiasm for learning and for---for education.

I think as you mentioned when as---as a director of, uh, educator licensing that I do work with all 8, uh, teacher preparation programs and have had opportunities to visit on campus, been through several accreditation experiences.  Uh, I---I think as a individual has chosen education and has the potential to become, uh, a teacher that, once again, it’s that enthusiasm, that interest, that spark for learning, that spark for being with young people, uh, and to share and facilitate that learning process.  Uh, and I think in conversation, uh, as I interview students, it becomes very evident that, uh---if they have the potential and they’re interested in students and interested in their subject area.  That they would---would make a well-prepared teacher.
I---I think you look at the dispositions of a well-educated teacher, um, in---in the broad sense, that through the moral dimensions that are outlined, as we talk about educating all students, uh, talking about the---the social and political framework, you know, this lends to the consistency of a---an environment, a school environment or a school setting, that, uh, as far as our conversation today.  We really talked about what would be the foundation regardless of what type of setting you are in, if it’s a, uh, a urban school, a rural school, um, uh, a high-achieving school or a low-achieving school.  That---those four sets of moral dimensions really lay a---a good solid foundation, that you would treat students, uh, the same as, uh, ---not necessarily the same, but if you are driven by that all students shall learn.  You handle that in the urban area as well as a rural area.  There may be some differences, there may be some different approaches, uh, but I think it’s that attitude, that all students can learn and that it may take different approaches, but you’re constantly exploring, you’re using different techniques.  Uh, but the in---the---the excitement and that interest in helping others to learn is there.  And, uh, likewise as we talked about the nurturing, uh, pedagogy, you know, obviously we take students where they are.  That, uh, one of the quotes we talked about was that too often we always see this ‘case’ scenario and we’re going to find out how we’re going to, uh---uh, do interventions and we’re going to make ‘em change.  Well, uh, uh, I think that’s not the way, not the good approach that we really need to take students where they are.  Recognize their abilities.  Recognize some of the shortcomings.  And through our skills and, uh, uh, uh, abilities help them, uh, understand what’s maybe lacking, help them with skills to develop those skills, uh, capitalize on the positive things.  Recognize the positive as well as working on some of the shortcomings and, uh, assist that student in---in the learning process.