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Morning Video: "Teacher-Led" Schools Increase Retention (But Not Test Scores)

On last night's PBS NewsHour, John Tulenko took us to Mission Hill in Boston, where teacher retention is high (but test scores aren't -- at leats not so far). There are roughly 70 of these consensus-run schools nationwide.



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Three points, Alexander:
First, students progress at different rates for a number of reasons -- which today's testmania ignores.
Second, institutional tests always tell us more about the test-makers and the institution than they tell us about the test-takers.
Third, legitimate testing is a diagnostic tool. Just as patient blood pressure testing can help physicians focus on individual patients' needs, legitimate academic testing can help teachers focus on individual students' needs. Just as uncooperative patients undermine physicians' efforts, uncooperative students undermine teachers' efforts. Using overall patients' readings to judge physicians' performance would be just as misguided as it is to use overall students' test scores to judge teachers' performance.
Ask yourself this question, Alexander: Has what we have been doing improved our schools, or are matters getting worse? Bureaucrats' continuing efforts to centralize and even nationalize education remind me of the alcoholic who says, "One more drink will make me sober." Bureaucrats have insatiable appetites for micromanaging our teachers. It's time to let our teachers teach.

I agree with your posting, that it is time to let our teachers teach. However, I must ask the question; are we talking about ‘good’ teachers or ‘great teachers’. Good teachers’ care about students. Good teachers know the content and know how to explain it. Good teachers expect and demand high levels of performance of students. Good teachers are great performers and storytellers that rivet their students' attention.

A great teacher will keep the students wanting to come to school just to see what interesting things they will explore and discover each day. We call this inquiry. The philosophy that supports such a great teacher is simple. Students learn best when they are in control of their learning.

Students must do the heavy lifting of learning and nothing the teacher can say or do will change that. Real learning requires doing, not listening, or observing only. Yet what do we find in every public school and university? Teachers talking, talking and talking while students listen, daydream and doze. We call this lecture.

The word "teacher" implies the flow of knowledge and skills from one person to another. Whether it is a lecture, or a power point, it involves talking at the student. With this being said, tests scores “will” increase. Nice posting and an interesting topic.



I believe you raise a great point. And gets me thinking about inquiry. We want learning for children to be fun, so that they have interest for more. This has been my goal for my son and hope that he enjoys learn so that he can be a life-long learner.

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