Monday, August 6, 2012

How do we define good teaching?

What does it take to be a good teacher? 
How do we measure teacher effectiveness? 
"I taught it but they did not learn it!"

There are a few components necessary for students to learn.  Of course one of them is a relationship with a caring adult.  This may not necessarily be with the actual teacher but often times, especially in challenging situations, the teacher must build a bridge into a struggling students life to be able to influence the student to change.  A master teacher often pulls from past experiences many tricks and tools for eliciting the best from students,  lighting the spark of intrinsic motivation and confronting without being confrontational to the point of antagonism, and getting more from the student than others.  This is the relational component and vital for sustained growth.

Continuous assessment for student learning is also vital to determine the pace of instruction, the depth of the content and expectations of higher standards.  Gone are the days where we can administer a single exam and hinge an entire semester or annual grade on that event.  Frequent formal and causal assessments provide a better pulse or picture of student learning.  A pre-assessment, followed by multiple formative tools and wrapped up with a summative component that assembles all the various parts.  Thus we can claim "we taught it" after we verify "they learned it!"

All content hinges on literacy and reading.  These become the backbone, foundation and in some cases a predictor of future success.  A student that lags in their reading will often portray avoidance behaviors that prevent that confrontation that tends to make the struggling reader feel even more discouraged and the cycle continues to exaggerate itself to the point of perceived hopelessness.  Remember hope is another vital component for effort and intrinsic motivation and without hope, there is no reason to try! 

These trends are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ( CCSS ) and there seems to be a direction towards some component of teacher accountability.  From our federal government (NCLB, although Missouri received a waiver) to state provided evaluation documents for teachers and principals, discussions about what it means to be a good teacher are becoming more and more common.

DESE (department of elementary and secondary education) supplies these three resources to articulate in what it means to be a good teacher and expect districts to incorporate similar if not matching rubrics for evaluations.  (EES = educator evaluation system)

Educators in Missouri would be inclined to review these above documents as provided by our state department of education. 

How do we define good teaching?  Good learning!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Mr. McCracken.

    To your comments on assessment... I've always been of a mind that "assessment" means so much more than the traditional idea of testing. The truest assessment comes from in the moment, 24/7, check-for-understanding strategies embeded in every lesson or workshop you conduct. These eyeball to eyeball interactions tell me more about if a kid truly "gets it," than anything else I do. Summative tests give opportunity for closure to all of us, and serve to represent to others the learning that has happened in our class.