How Perceptions Were Changed in New York7 Comments
At our May 6, 2010 Convening—Expanding the Conversation about Teaching: What Will it Really Take to Make Sure Every Child has an Effective Teacher?—we asked participants to rank the importance of six supports that are most needed in order to improve teacher effectiveness: Professional Development; Collaboration/Peer Support; Teacher Evaluations; Administrator or other Support for Teachers/Leadership; Participation in Teacher Networks; and Mentoring/Coaching.
Among meeting attendees, the three most important supports – both before and after the meeting – were: Professional Development; Collaboration/Peer Support; and Administrator or other Support for Teachers/Leadership. However, after hearing from our researchers, panelists and keynote speaker, the relative importance among these three categories changed. At the beginning of the day, most people believed that Professional Development was most important, with Collaboration/Peer Support a close second and Administrator or other Support for Teachers/Leadership not far behind. By the end of the day, Collaboration/Peer Support was considered, by far, the most important support needed in order to improve teacher effectiveness. Administrator or other Support for Teachers/Leadership had moved to second place with Professional Development now third, on par with Participation in Teacher Networks and Mentoring/Coaching.
What do you think is most needed in order to improve teacher effectiveness?
Over and over, participants noted the importance of collaboration. Here are some quotes from convening attendees:
- “It has reinforced my conviction that building professional/collaborative learning communities are crucially important,”—College Teacher, Researcher.
- “I was surprised to see how important collaboration can be to retention. The interdisciplinary approach can be very powerful.”—Publisher.
- “Collaboration and networking is necessary and developing good teachinginvolves a leader who understands teaching and builds structures to support teacher development.”—Non-profit/Foundation Associate.
The need for structures and supports was repeated throughout the day. Researchers, Dr. Barnett Berry and Dr. Ken Futernick, presented compelling evidence that the key to improving our schools is having structures in place that identify and support effective teaching. This “systems approach,” including how administrators can best support and evaluate teachers, was echoed in the participant responses:
- “I think we need to reframe the discussion to be about effective teachingas opposed to effective teachers.”—Teacher, K-12
- “Panelists and researchers got me to give greater emphasis to structures and policies throughout the system that support teacher learning and collaborative planning.”—Non-profit/Foundation Associate
- “Thank goodness researchers are now working on better assessments/evaluations. Otherwise we get these ridiculous statements about 1) how many effective teachers there are, and 2) how few effective teachers there are. Who knows really, without a clear definition of effectiveness!” —College Teacher/Researcher
We would like to hear from you. What structures or supports do you think are most needed in order to improve teaching effectiveness?