PRAXIS II Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 Exam

The Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 exam is divided into two sections relating to topics associated with early childhood education: one section includes four case studies with 4 corresponding short answers questions, and the multiple choice section consists of 70 questions divided into four sections.

The short answer section will give four teaching related scenarios, with three questions each, pertaining to comprehension of forms of teaching, guidelines for learning and teaching associated with various methods of teaching, and the implementation of the techniques. Two hours is given to complete the entire exam.

The first area that the questions may address is Students as Learners, which consists of theories of learning, theories of human development, differences in learning styles, laws and responsibilities related to diversity in schools, the management of the classroom, and ways to promote motivation in the classroom. The next area is the instruction process, which focuses on types of learning and methods of teaching, such as the inquiry method and learning centers, techniques and materials involved with forms of teaching and learning, and strategies for creating lesson plans. The next section is assessment which focuses on the variety of ways to grade and assess students. The last area of questioning addresses Profession and Community and involves knowledge of resources for educators and the role of teachers beyond the classroom.

The short-answer questions can be given scores from 0-2, with the high score being 2. A score of 2 is given for answers that respond to each element in the question with a superb understanding of important parts of the scenario and a strong demonstration of theories and methods that apply to the situation. A score of 1 is given for fair demonstration of this knowledge and for response to only part of the question. A score of 0 is given for misinterpreting the important aspects in the scenario and misapplying theories and concepts. The Students as Learners and the Instructional Process sections contribute approximately 22.5% each to the total score, the Assessment section contributes 15% to the score, the Professional Development and Community questions contribute to about 15%% of the score, and the Analysis of Instructional Scenarios contributes 25% of the total score.

PRAXIS II Principles Of Learning And Teaching: Grades K – 6 Practice Questions

1. Which of the following should not be one of the developmental skills of childhood?

A. Negative feedback
B. Manipulating signs and symbols
C. Making things
D. Using tools

2. How does a child’s temperament affect his development?

A. It influences behavior.
B. It influences reactions.
C. Age brings more control over choices.
D. All of the above

3. Which of the following is not an attribute of a child-centered kindergarten environment?

A. Provides an environment that grows
B. Encourages passive participation
C. Understands play is fundamental to development
D. Celebrates multicultural differences

4. List some attributes of a child-centered elementary school environment:

A. play is still important to development.
B. play provides an active environment.
C. play encourages exploration of their world.
D. All of the above

5. Which of the following should not be included in an anecdotal record?

A. Frequent observations
B. Subjective descriptions
C. Analysis of the behavior
D. Successful and unsuccessful situations

Answer Key For Principles Of Learning And Teaching: Grades K – 6

1. Answer: A

From approximately six to ten years of age, children start school and begin moving away from the known world of home and family to the new world of academia, additional adult influences, and many people their own age. Egocentric thought begins to lessen. Children learn how to manipulate signs and symbols related to objects. They learn how to make things and use tools. They discover actions are reversible, how it feels to be productive, and how much fun it can be to learn something new.

For most children, this is the first time they receive feedback from people outside the family circle. If the feedback is constructive and instructive, they develop competence and increase their self-esteem. However, if a child is consistently unsuccessful and doesn’t learn to appreciate the learning process, he can feel inadequate and develop feelings of inferiority that can stay with him the rest of his life.

2. Answer: D

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines temperament as “the manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting typical of a specific person.” Studies have shown (and casual observation will agree) that a child’s temperament will have a direct influence on how he behaves in a particular situation or reacts to a particular stimuli. For example, if a child has a short attention span, he will be challenged in any learning environment that requires him to sit still and focus for long periods of time. If a child is shy or easily intimidated by adults, he will have a difficult time relating to his teacher, which will have a direct impact on his educational experiences. As the child ages, he will exert more control over his environmental choices, which will affect his interactions. As a result, children usually choose people with whom they are comfortable and situations they perceive to be nonthreatening.

3. Answer: B

One critical factor to remember is that five-year-olds learn differently than older children. The physical space and the teacher’s approach to instruction should reflect the unique learning requirements of the kindergarten student. A five-year-old needs an environment that grows and changes as he acquires new skills; a curriculum that addresses his physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; provides lots of different hands-on activities and materials that encourage active participation; views play as fundamental to his development.

The kindergartner’s experiences should include opportunities to try new ideas and concepts and introduce and celebrate multicultural differences. The physical area should be inviting, colorful, encourage interaction, and easy to navigate. The room should be arranged from the child’s viewpoint with large and small spaces designed for different activities; all areas should be visible to the teacher. Parental involvement should be strongly encouraged from helping in the classroom to asking about the kindergartner’s day.

4. Answer: D

Elementary school children between the ages of approximately six and nine have progressed beyond learning just through play, although playing still has an important role in their development. From first grade through fifth grade, children are honing their problem-solving skills and improving their ability to listen, follow instructions, and make friends. A child-centered elementary school environment provides students with an active atmosphere and a curriculum that focuses on themes built on topics in which they are interested.

When the child feels his needs and interests are considered, he is more cooperative, happier, less competitive, and involved in fewer conflicts at school and at home. The motivation behind a child-centered learning environment is that children learn by doing as well as by exploring their world in their time and in their way. When the elements are present that encourage this active learning, children’s natural curiosity is aroused and knowledge is acquired.

5. Answer: B

An anecdotal record is a written description of observed behavior. They are usually kept in an alphabetized book, binder, or folder and should be organized so it is easy to find notes concerning a particular student. There are computer programs available that make retrieving the data simple.

To be effective, observations need to be made frequently and incidents need to be described completely and objectively. The teacher’s analysis should be used as a guide for appropriate responses. Both successful situations and unsuccessful attempts need to be recorded in order to present an accurate picture of the student’s progress.

The evaluation context is:

  • Formative: Recalling the incident may raise an alert that something needs to be addressed.
  • Summative: Since observations are made over a period of time, they are an effective way to track student attitude, behavior, knowledge acquired, cognitive skills learned, etc.
  • Diagnostic: Consistent attention to performance may spotlight areas that need special attention.