The primary task of an educator is to teach a student through making the information understandable and rather easy to learn and use. Thus, Domain A – Making Subject Matter Comprehensible of the teaching program is designed to improve educators’ skills in developing instructions that are correlated with the state academic standards and address the students’ needs regarding the comprehension of the material. Domain A is associated with approaches that should be used by educators to develop the knowledge of the subject matter in students and make the material understandable and easy to follow. In this context, much attention is paid to such a teaching performance expectation (TPE) as TPE1 – Specific Pedagogical Skills for Subject Matter Instruction that is divided into Subject-Specific Pedagogical Skills for Multiple Subject Teaching Assignments (TPE 1-A) and Subject-Specific Pedagogical Skills for Single Subject Teaching Assignments (TPE 1-B).
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TPE 1 is connected with the development of educators’ skills in selecting, formulating, differentiating, and adapting instructions for students that should contribute to their successful learning and comprehension of the task and material. Therefore, to guarantee the comprehension of the subject matter, an educator should focus on developing effective instructions that can direct and motivate students.
While teaching English Language Arts, it is reasonable to apply Domain A across TPEs to achieve high results. The focus on adapting the subject matter for students to enhance their learning is the key to achieve high-level performance. Thus, the application of Domain A is observed when an educator concentrates on understanding the subject, correlating it with state standards, and formulating the instruction appropriate for the concrete group of students, depending on their prior knowledge, achievements, and environment as the framework for the instruction. In this context, the teaching strategy that is relevant to implement TPE 1-A is the differentiation through the use of interest groups. In this case, the instruction becomes appropriate for the concrete group of students who can understand the material easier because they are focused on their preferences and specific interests.
Domain A is extremely important in the context of education because the success in learning depends on the students’ abilities to comprehend the subject matter. Thus, if the subject matter is presented with the focus on the instruction that is inappropriate for the concrete students who are different in their backgrounds and abilities, students become deprived of the opportunity to understand the material and develop a set of skills. That is why effective instruction is the guarantee that students understand what an educator tries to teach them. The appropriate instruction is the first step toward understanding the subject matter and to efficient learning. From this point, an educator should direct students on their path to comprehending the material with the help of adequate instructions and strategies.
The first artifact to support the significance of Domain A is the lesson plan in English Language Arts. During the lesson, children are taught three English words in different contexts and sentences to understand how it is possible to use different simple words in a variety of situations. The key focus is on the active manipulation of words and their usage in sentences. This lesson is required because it helps students understand, interpret, and then use different simple words in many various sentences. A student learns different aspects of the words and comprehends how it is possible to use them in their daily life. From this perspective, the lesson plan demonstrates how it is possible to help students understand words and apply their knowledge to practice, that is the evidence of comprehension. At this stage, comprehension is possible as a result of the educator’s use of differentiation, adaptation, and accommodation strategies that are effective in improving the instruction during the lesson. The properly-developed instruction helps students comprehend the material and develop their usage of the learned words and communication skills.
The second artifact is the lesson plan in English Language and Literature. During this lesson, students are expected to learn about contemporary cultural dilemmas and analyze the sources related to the book Slam! And the movie in this context and with the focus on comparing and contrasting the elements of the original work and the interpretation provided in the movie. The artifact is selected because the lesson plan is organized to stimulate the students’ comprehension, and it also demonstrates what strategies the teacher can use to improve the instruction and make the task more comprehensible. The lesson plan includes the description of strategies such as the provision of the context, work with the vocabulary, and the careful work with the script to adapt the material for students who have different learning styles and backgrounds. As a result, the lesson demonstrates how it is possible to enhance comprehension improving the instruction and addressing the needs of the diverse class.
The included artifacts illustrate what personal competencies and abilities are developed in the context of Domain A and what approaches were used to improve skills in developing the instruction to influence the students’ comprehension to guarantee their academic success.