Thursday, 10 March 2016

Why I'm Not Impressed with Effective Teachers

Burdock aka sticky burr as the seeds travel by hooking into fur or clothes.

Why I'm Not Impressed with Effective Teachers

I was making a presentation about how to raise reading achievement. I was taking my audience through research on what needed to be taught and how it needed to be taught if kids
were to do as well as possible. I was telling about my experiences as director of reading
of the Chicago Public Schools at a time when my teachers raised reading achievement.

When I finished, a teacher approached me.
“What do you think is the most important variable in higher reading achievement?”
My answer was, “The amount of teaching—academic experience—that we provide to our children.”
 She stared at me, horrified. “Not the teacher?”

We hear that a lot these days, that the trick to high quality education is excellent teachers.
Who in their right mind could be against excellent teachers?

For example, the Center for American Progress (CAP) just released a report showing the importance of quality teachers in Pre-K through Grade 3, particularly for kids from low-income families.

However, I’m more interested in verbs than nouns. The focus on effective teachers—teachers,
a noun—makes it seem like we just are attracting the wrong people into the profession.
Man, if teachers were smarter, more teacherly, better, then our kids would do great.

Contrarily, my focus is on teaching—teaching, a verb—which shifts my attention to what it means
to be effective. Effective teachers are not just nicer people to be around,
but they do things that less effective teachers do not.

For example, effective teaching employs instructional time more wisely.  It is teaching that gets started right away—no 30-minute circle times, no large portions of class time devoted
to getting a head start on the homework—and such teaching keeps kids productively engaged throughout the day. Observational studies have long showed that effective teaching
avoids long wait times by the kids; avoids disruptions; encourages more interaction
per instructional minute; follows a sound curriculum intelligently; gets a lot more reading into
a lesson; explains things better; notices when kids aren’t getting it and does something about it.

What’s the difference?

I can’t teach you to be an effective teacher. But I can teach you to do the kinds of things effective teachers do. We can figure out what makes them so special and can emulate their specialness. Driving a car like Tiger Woods won’t make you a great golfer (sorry General Motors),
but if you can get at what makes him great, then perhaps you can emulate
that golf behavior successfully. Experts drool over his golf swing—squaring the head of the club
up to the ball time after time. You might lack Tiger’s nerves and reflexes and his muscle memory developed through long hours of practice, but you can work on developing a fundamentally
sound golf swing—just like Tiger’s—and that will make you a better golfer.

If the issue of educational effectiveness turns on effective teachers, then you either are one
or you are not. If it turns on teaching effectiveness—knowing how to model effectively,
to explain things clearly, to guide practice effectively, to let go at the right moment
to let the students try it themselves, to review wisely—then we all have a lot to work on. Great teachers aren’t born, they’re made. Effectiveness isn’t a feature of a person, it is a goal to strive for.
Labels: effective teachers, Teaching, teaching research

You can TCR specialist and language dictionaries that are spontaneously accessed.
I can Turbo Charge Read a novel 6-7 times faster and remember what I’ve read.
I can TCR an instructional/academic book around 20 times faster and remember what I’ve read.
Introduction to Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
A practical overview of Turbo Charged Reading YouTube 
How to choose a book. A Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
Emotions when Turbo Charged Reading YouTube

Advanced Reading Skills Perhaps you’d like to join my FaceBook group ?

Perhaps you’d like to check out my sister blogs:        gives many ways for you to work with the stresses of life              which takes advantage of the experience and expertise of others.        just for fun.

To quote the Dr Seuss himself, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn; the more places you'll go.”

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Your opinions, experience and questions are welcome. M'reen