July 2, 2008

What Makes a Teacher Effective?

By Patterson, Janice Manning, Maryann

WHAT MAKES A TEACHER EFFECTIVE? National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2006. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education advances an agenda that calls for extensive teacher preparation. This brochure explains in great detail why all educators need rigorous training in order to perform their jobs effectively. This publication explains the process of teacher preparation by referencing several examples of classroom- derived research, all of which argues persuasively that additional teacher training mutually benefits educators and students. Well- qualified teachers perform their job more efficiently, have better classroom management skills, and are less likely to leave the profession. In addition, the students of well-qualified teachers consistently perform better on standardized tests and assigned class work.

The study draws a sharp correlation between student achievement and teachers who have undergone specialized training, both in their individual field of study as well as in pedagogical studies. Furthermore, it asserts that command of one's subject matter is not sufficient. The most successful teachers are those who undergo specialized training from the moment they graduate and continue to engage in periodic substantive professional development through the course of their careers.

This study cites the achievement gap that exists between schools in lower socioeconomic districts and more affluent districts, concluding that under-qualified educators are found in much greater quantity in lower performing schools. As a means of addressing this disparity, the study proposes that hardto-staff schools be revamped as professional development schools. These schools, staffed largely by master teachers with an established pattern of successful teaching, would thus be better able to aid new teachers by guiding them through their first experiences in a classroom setting.

The summary of research concludes by citing eight separate but related policy recommendations that, if implemented, could greatly increase student achievement by advancing educator preparedness. The brochure argues that additional, comprehensive assessment is necessary to provide a more accurate picture of the needs to be addressed. To summarize, most skilled professions in the United States require extensive training, exams, and periodic on-thejob training; teacher training in many developed nations requires these same rigorous standards. If similar standards were applied to U.S. teachers, student achievement would be greatly improved.

Copyright Association for Childhood Education International Summer 2008

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