Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teacher Quality

I was just reading Kevin Carey's latest post about teacher quality, or more specifically alternate certification programs vs. traditional certification programs.  He brings up an interesting point about the possibility of there being some sort of mystery innate factor that heavily influences student outcomes and teacher effectiveness.

Well I am here to tell you Kevin, that the factor isn't such a mystery.  Four school age kids, twenty or so teachers in their lives, and I can spot an effective teacher in the first week of school.  I haven't been wrong yet.

An effective teacher:
  1. Reinforces the basics/building blocks continually
  2. Is organized i.e. plans out assignments and and doesn't lose homework
  3. Expects students to be behaved and responsible
  4. Uses students work to evaluate how well they taught, not just how well the student learned
As far as the alternate certification vs traditional certification argument goes, I think the whole debate is putting the cart in front of the horse.

In my several years of being an education junkie, I have yet to read about a single study that compares the effectiveness of education teachers programs.

The value added effectiveness of all education program graduates should be measure and tied back to their school.  Nursing schools are graded based on their NCLEX pass rates.  Why couldn't we track education majors for a few years after they enter the teaching profession and publish which schools do a good job of preparing teachers.

I would wager that once the rankings came out, education schools would quickly abandon all the pseudo science they try and pass of as pedagogy and start providing effective instruction on how to prepare lessons, maintain discipline, and teach math/reading.

Is that to much to ask?