Domain 3: Instruction
Domain 3 contains the components that are at the essential heart of teaching – the actual engagement of students in learning, through the vision of students developing complex understanding and participating in a community of learners. Students are engaged in meaningful work, which carries significance beyond the next test and is relevant to students’ lives. Teachers who excel in Domain 3 have finely honed instructional skills. Their work in the classroom is fluid and flexible; they can shift easily from one approach to another when the situation demands it. They seamlessly incorporate ideas and concepts from other parts of the curriculum into their explanations and activities. Their questions probe student thinking, and serve to extend understanding. They are attentive to different students in the class, and the degree to which they are thoughtfully engaged; they carefully monitor student understanding as they go (through well-designed questions or activities) and make minor mid-course corrections as needed. And above all, they promote the emergence of self-directed learners fully engaged in the work at hand.