4a. Teachers know the ways in which learning takes place, and they know the appropriate levels of intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development of their students.

Standard 4: Teachers facilitate learning for their students

Teachers know how students think and learn. Teachers understand the influences that affect individual student learning (development, culture, language proficiency, etc.) and differentiate their instruction accordingly. Teachers keep abreast of evolving research about student learning. They adapt resources to address the strengths and weaknesses of their students.

Critical Elements: Time, Clarity, Attention, Learning Experiences, Expectations, Momentum, Principles of Learning, Models of Teaching

Related Critical Elements


Focusing student attention on learning experiences is perhaps the most fundamental management challenge for teachers. Attention is the litmus test of performance among the group of management areas: Attention, Momentum, Discipline, Space, Time and Routines. Unless students are paying attention to the instruction, it does not matter how great the lesson is. Engaging and involving… [read more]


Clarity, according to The Skillful Teacher, is the ability to cause mental acts within student’s minds that will result in their understanding or being able to do something. Compare the definition of Clarity with the definition of teaching. Teaching: Anything a person does that increases the probability of intended learning. The Skillful Teacher text uses… [read more]


Nothing influences behavior so strongly as the clear expectations of a significant other. —Jim Steffen, Management Consultant Classrooms are dynamic and complex societies that are filled with expectations: expectations that teachers have for students and that students have for teachers and each other. Expectations explain a good deal of what we see in classrooms—the good… [read more]

Learning Experiences

The Learning Experiences area of performance on the Map of Pedagogical Knowledge is constructed from the student point of view. We ask first, “What are students experiencing in their environment? What are the attributes of the activity? What is it like from the student’s perspective to be participating in this activity? Then we ask the… [read more]

Models of Teaching

A model of teaching is a pattern of instruction that is recognizable and consistent. It has particular values, goals, and a rationale for how learning will take place. The orientation of teaching is developed into a specific set of phases teachers and students go through. Each model of teaching is its own entity with specific… [read more]


For teaching purposes, the concept of momentum refers to the smooth, ongoing flow of events in the classroom. With sometimes large numbers of students in classrooms, spanning diverse backgrounds and functioning at differentiated instructional levels, anything and everything can present as a pitfall to momentum. Learning downtime can be a good thing as it relates… [read more]

Principles of Learning

Principles of Learning describes twenty-four teaching concept “power packs,” each one self-contained and ready for use as an addition to any teacher’s repertoire. Each of the twenty four concepts is grounded in learning theory and are certain to increase the rate and durability of students’ learning. What each of these principles share in common is… [read more]


Time is the currency of life. Teachers have enormous power in how the currency of time is spent in the classroom. When students do what, in what order, and for how long is largely under the teacher’s control. A recommendation from The Skillful Teacher is that teachers be as deliberate as possible in managing student… [read more]

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The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning

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Why PBL?

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Managing Instructional Time

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Exploratorium Teacher Institute

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TEACHNOLOGY Web Quest Generator

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Creating a Culture for Learning

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Sample Lesson: Kindergarten Math

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