What Makes a School Great…. It All Starts With The TeachersBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on September 15, 2010 in What Makes A Great Teacher?
Last week September 13th, 2010, Robert J. Samuelson, a Newsweek Reporter had an interesting article “Why School Reform Fails: Student motivation is the problem” read Samuelson’s article here. Samuelson’s article provided data on the amount of money that has been spent on school reform over the decades, which is an extremely large sum, along with data on test scores which are not showing positive gains for the dollars spent. Samuelson believes that the problem with school reform is that students lack motivation. “The student is the problem. If students are not motivated, even capable teachers may fail.” If you visit the majority of early childhood through first grade classrooms the majority of the children are curious, eager to learn, and motivated. Unfortunately, as the child progresses through the grade levels many of the children who started off eager to learn become disenchanted with school. I think we have to ask ourselves as a nation what is the cause for students becoming less motivated as they progress through the school system. As a teacher trainer who has been presenting teacher training workshops nationwide for decades I would have to side with Time Reporters Amanda Ripley and John Cloud in TIME What Makes a School Great…. It All Starts With the Teachers. Both Ripley and Cloud’s school reform articles point out that to have great schools and children who are excelling, we must have excellent teachers in every classroom. Ripley and Cloud’s articles present statistical data and extensive research on the importance of providing quality teacher training programs. Statistical data is presented on data from teachers who have graduated from traditional teacher education university programs compared to teachers who have been trained through teacher training programs that are run by organizations such as Teach For America (TFA) and New Teacher Project (TNTP). Programs like TFA and TNTP are producing teachers that are having a major positive impact on student gains in the classroom, as well as reshaping entire schools. Many of these organizations are receiving funding for their non-traditional approaches to teacher training from non-profit organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Additionally, the articles cover charter schools, the new education reform movie “Waiting for Superman,” and alternative pathways to teaching. Read Amanda Ripley’s article “A Call to Action for Public Schools” here and John Cloud’s article How to Recruit Better Teachers here. Basically it’s quite simple. Every student in the nation deserves a quality education provided by individuals that have excellent teaching abilities, are highly motivated, and strive to instill a lifelong love of learning in all those they teach.