Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Simple Question. A Complex Set of Answers.

I came across what I consider to be an excellent question on the topic of teaching today.  I think there likely to be as many answers suggested as there would be people who might answer it.  I'd love to give the question (see below) out at the start of a staff meeting and spend a good hour discussing the qualities of effective teachers.

Lack of consensus on an answer would be a problem for instructional leaders however.  Our goal as instructional leaders has to be always to increase the effectiveness of the instruction in our schools.  It is clear (and is backed up by substantial research) that classroom instruction is the single most important school factor that influences student achievement, which leads me to the question I came across today:

What are the most common differences between good teachers and expert teachers?

If we want to increase the skill level of our teachers, where should we focus the majority of our resources?  What will give us the biggest bang for our buck, so to speak?  What should our instructional priority be?
  • The ability to differentiate?
  • The ability to develop effective and caring relationships with students?
  • Skill with small group instruction?
  • Effective planning?
  • Effective technology integration?
  • Skill with classroom management?
  • The ability to provide descriptive feedback to students?
  • Something else?
WWMS? (What would Marzano say?)
WWHS?  (What would Hattie say?)
WWLS? (What would Leithwood say?)

What if they all said the same thing?  Would that be enough evidence to demonstrate an urgent need for specific action?

I'd love to have this discussion with a room full of teachers or administrators....I think it would be fascinating and passionate!  And if we could turn that into action, wouldn't we have a clearly established vision of what instructional leadership is all about and a common understanding of where we need to go?


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