Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Building a better teacher"

From today's NYT magazine:

This is a fascinating article that describes several researchers' work in breaking down the specific steps that make a teacher more or less successful. One of the researchers has compiled his findings in a 357 page document know as "Lemov's Taxonomy" which is to be released next month under the title "Teach like a champion: The 49 techniques that put students on the path to college." The work has also already been circulated unofficially.


Questioner said...

From the article: "what looked like natural-born genius was often deliberate technique in disguise." For example, Lemov learned from a teacher to stand still rather than walk around when giving directions.

As PPS embarks on a teacher training program, it would be good to know how the program relates to prior work in the field- is the program utilizing and building on this work? If and when it departs from this work, what is the reasoning behind that decision? Can use of this prior work reduce the $85 million price tag? And how much of the $85M is going toward merit bonuses, and for what period of time? Is there broad consensus on what needs to be done to better prepare teachers? If so, rather than individual districts setting up teaching academies would it make sense for schools of education to adjust the way they teach and have sessions for existing teachers to update their skills?

Anonymous said...

I personally like walking around while presenting a lesson to make sure all students are focused and engaged- staying in one place does not give one a complete view of the total classroom. I prefer "working the perimeter."

Questioner said...

And that raises a question- will teachers be required to follow a strict set of techniques and procedures as part of "teacher effectiveness," much like some say they must follow a strict curriculum? Is there a range of effective techniques, with some working better for different people? What exactly is the effectiveness program?

It is interesting that in the NYT article, a teacher is praised for knowing when to depart from the lesson planned for the day and improvise based on a particular student question.

anothanon said...

The three comments here indicate one thing. Not every method or practice works for everyone. My son was in elementary school when suddenly a lot of wall space was eaten up by standards being posted. For him that was clutter.

What I am most concerned about is while we are busy building better teachers our best staff will walk away.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the article wasn't talking about presenting a lesson while standing still, it was very specifically talking about standing still while giving directions. That is, say, at the end of a lesson, when explaining what they are to do next.

It's an interesting article at the very least -- there are all sorts of "small piece" bits of information that would certainly be easy enough to give a try in a classroom.

Questioner said...

Probably, it applies to directions at any point- whether at the beginning or end of a lesson or somewhere in the middle.

Teachers, were you aware of this technique? Does it work?