December 14, 2008

How To Train Great Teachers

According to Malcolm Gladwell in the Dec. 15 New Yorker, the "expensive, time-consuming credentials that almost every district expects teachers to acquire" turn out not to make a difference in the classroom. As with pro quarterbacks and financial advisors, it turns out that the best way to get good teachers is to screen out those with known ineffective traits, put the rest to work and winnow them after a few years. 
     "Teaching should be open to anyone with a pulse and a college degree - and teachers should be judged after they have started their jobs, not before." The payoff is that really good teachers can cover the same material - and properly - in half the time a mediocre one will take. A really great teacher has "withitness," and can offer instant relevant feedback as needed.

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