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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seattle Times story on teaching quality - in a good way

For all of the talk about "Teacher Quality", there's very little talk about quality teaching. A story in today's Seattle Times, Classroom Tours Aim to Find Great Teaching, explores that gap.

It's interesting in how it re-focuses the attention where it should be.

Two quotes of note from the story:

Stephen Fink, executive director of the University of Washington's Center for Educational Leadership gave this indirect quote:
Too much of the conversation about improving schools, Fink says later, centers on how to get rid of ineffective teachers or reward great ones. The reality, he says, is that few teachers are truly ineffective — or completely effective. The vast majority, he says, are working hard to the best of their ability.
and this direct quote:
"Our entire mental model ... still assumes that this thing called teaching is doable by the vast majority of people with a limited amount of training. Nothing could be further from the truth."
The first quote de-bunks the bulk of Ed Reform talk and the second quote makes Teach for America laughable.

4 comments:

Sahila said...

If you really do want to make a difference in education, actually have a say in that, for your, your kids and your community join Parents Across America - just launched in New York on Monday... watch video...

national launch of Parents Across America

there's a Seattle Chapter...
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148970815124891

Maureen said...

This line caught my attention:

The teachers all made efforts to get students involved, but they also talked — a lot.

That's common in classrooms all over the place, but Fink reminds the group that research shows students learn better when they have a chance to express themselves.


What occurs to me is that while it certainly helps the student who is speaking to organize their thoughts and have the opportunity to show whether or not they understand what's going on, the other 29 students probably learn more from hearing the teacher talk than they do hearing the other student talk (especially since kids are prone to saying very memorable and very wrong things!). So how do you balance that?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I love that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has time to tour 5 districts' classrooms. Do we not pay her for her expertise? She really doesn't know what good teaching looks like?

It really bothered me.

Sahila said...

National Parents Across America Facebook group

National Parents Across America Facebook page