« When it comes to student engagement, the eyes don't have it | Main | Selling Out School for a Storm Cloud »

Grit: Why the best and the Worst REALLY do Matter- In the classrooms for SURE!

This entry has been cross posted to Sentiments On Common Sense.

3562074395_bc1e7a93fd.jpgI just returned from a trip to the U.S. to hire some teachers for my school. Those trips are grueling, intense and a chance to examine my personal educational beliefs at a core level.

We move out on these trips with great purpose.

We work in teams.

We talk. We collaborate. We commiserate. We come home exhausted.

We interview 15-18 teachers a day and make some very basic decisions (to offer a contract or say "no thank you") which are VERY important decisions about who will be the teachers in some of our classrooms this next academic year.

Before we went out on our recruiting trips this year, I had our administrative team review an article from Independent School Management titled "Why the Worst (and Best) Teachers Matter". Unfortunately it is a copyrighted article not available on the web unless you are member of ISM, but I will quote from the article which focuses the reader on the aphorism that "a rising tide lifts all boats" is not necessarily true day in and day out in the classrooms. The author notes that "bad" teachers also have an effect on the good teachers in the schools in which we work. Evidence points to the fact that..

Relationships among people in an organization matter a great deal.

Simply put, students get higher marks when both their teacher and their teacher's peers are above average; when teachers peers are lower in ability and effectiveness, students achievement levels reflect that.


Technically speaking....

...the study notes that "replacing one peer (teacher) wiht another has one standard deviation higher value-added will increase her students tests scores by 0.86 percent of a standard deviation." That improvement is noted for reading; for mathematics improvement "is associated with a 3.98% of a standard deviation increase in math test scores."

Noteworthy? I think so! In fact as I read the article, and did as the author suggested and examine this trend in it's entirety, I believe it confirms just what I believed for some time. Teachers, like students, benefit from direct learning from their peers, and that learning and professional improvement result from exposure to better peers. It is probably a "no-duh!" for many administrators out there when I state that it really has nothing to do with the school, and the organization and more about the quality of the teachers in the classrooms. Great schools, as common sense would tell you, have bad teachers and bad, or poor performing schools have some good teachers. In the Atlantic Monthly article "What Makes are Great Teacher?" author Amanda Ripley notes in her article detailing the "New Teacher Project" that,

For years, the secrets to great teaching have seemed more like alchemy than science, a mix of motivational mumbo jumbo and misty-eyed tales of inspiration and dedication.

She goes on to share that...

But we have never identified excellent teachers in any reliable, objective way. Instead, we tend to ascribe their gifts to some mystical quality that we can recognize and revere--but not replicate. The great teacher serves as a hero but never, ironically, as a lesson.


Noting that...

Parents have always worried about where to send their children to school; but the school, statistically speaking, does not matter as much as which adult stands in front of their children. Teacher quality tends to vary more within schools--even supposedly good schools--than among schools.


So, what should we be looking for out there? What kinds of traits do we look for, and HOW does my team of administrators gleen realization of these traits from brief 15-30 minute interviews. My take as always been to find learners, not learned teachers. I have always looked for teachers who have an innate joy and love of life. I look for teachers who have demonstrated leadership and goal aquisition in the past. I look for teachers who have perserverved, not through hardship, but toward a single-minded high standard for the student learning experience. My common sense is once again confirmed as noted by Ripley when she quotes the Journal of Positive Psychology.

In a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology in November 2009, they evaluated 390 Teach for America instructors before and after a year of teaching. Those who initially scored high for "grit"--defined as perseverance and a passion for long-term goals, and measured using a short multiple-choice test--were 31 percent more likely than their less gritty peers to spur academic growth in their students. Gritty people, the theory goes, work harder and stay committed to their goals longer. (Grit also predicts retention of cadets at West Point, Duckworth has found.)

Interestingly this hit a nerve with me. It makes a lot of common sense.

Grit. Stamina. A learner. Flexible. Adaptable. Grit.

Technorati Tags: recruiting, hiring, great teachers, bad teachers, supervision and evaluation, Atlantic Monthly, What Makes a Great Teacher?

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3562074395

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

#ccko9
#eci831
#ic3s21
#passiondriven
1:1
1:1 laptops
21st century
21st Century
21st Century Schools
21st Century Skills
21st Century skills
Abraham Lincoln
Accountability
accountabilty
adifference
administrator
Adolescent Literacy Panel
advice
aldonza
aleccouros
Alfie Kohn
Angela Maiers
aptitude
Arthur Benjamin
Artists
Arts
ASCD
Assessment
astronaut
Author
avatar
basketball
Beyond Discipline
Blog
blogging
blogs
boss
calculus
Capacity
Career and College Readiness
Carnegie Foundation
CEDS
Cell Phones
Challenge
Change
change
Charleston Children's Museum
Chris Anderson
CIES
class blogs
Clay Shirky
College
Colonel Eileen Collins
commenting
commitment
communication
community
Community
comparative
compassion
compensation
Comprehension
Comprhension
computers in the classroom
Constructivism
cookie
Copyright_infringement
Copyright_laws
Council of Conscience
creativity
Creativity
Creativity Conversation
Creativity Index
Cultivate
Dan Pink
death valley
Decision making
dennisar
Derailed
Disruptive Innovation
Divergent
dkuropatwa
Don Quixote
Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Drive
dulcinea
education
Education
Education in the United States
educational change
Educational Leadership
educational leadership
educational technology leadership
Educators
effectiveness
Element
empathy
Enactivism
energy savings
Engage
Engineering
engineering
evaluation
evernote
evsc
Facebook
failure
Feedback
Festival
Film festival
firing
formative and summative assessments
Frank Smith
friendship
Future
Garr Reynolds
georgesiemens
Global
Golden Rule
Grades
green technology
heart
heart of a teacher
High school
high school
Higher Education
Higher Order Thinking Skills
hire
history
HOME
Home School Partnership
Homework
hospitals
humility
I Notice
Ian Jukes
Ideas
Identity crisis
imagination
Improvement
improvement
Indexing
influence
innovation
Innovation
innovation3
innovation3 llc
inspiration
instructional leadership
Interests
international
International Society for Technology in Education
interview
ipad
ISTE
Jayson Richardson
job
Job Readiness
John Seely Brown
K through 12
K-8
Karen Armstrong
karl fisch
kellychristopherson
Kent
leaderhhip coaching
leadershiop
Leadership
leadership
leadership development
leadership management influence
Leadership Resources
lean
learning
Learning
Learning 21st Century
legislation
Lifelong learning
Literacy
Literacy and Learning
Love
Man of La Mancha
management
math
math education
mathematics
Mathematics
mboe
Media literacy
medicine
mentoring
merit pay
mguhlin
Michael Watkins
Minds on Fire
moodle
Motivation
Movies
Multiple choice
NAESP
NASA
national educational technology plan
National Governors Association
NCESSE
Neil Rochelle
netbooks
NETS-A
Norma Rae
Nurture
Obama
one to one
online
online learning
Online Software
Originality
osu
Paradoxical Commandments
Parent Invovlement
Parent Partnership
passion
Passion Driven Classroom
Passion Education
Passion Leadership
performance
pete reilly
peter o'toole
Peter Senge
plagiarism
pln
PLN
plurk
Positive feedback
power
preconceptions
President Kennedy
principal
Principal
principal preparation
priorities
probability
Problem Solving
productivity
Professional development
publishing
read/write web
Reading
Reading Next
Reflection
reform
religion
reorganization
research
saving IT dollars
Schedules
school leadership
School Reform
schooling
Science
science
Scott McCloud
Scott McLeod
Second Life
self management
Seth Godin
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai
SIF
sir ken robinson
Sir Ken Robinson
SLC
Social Media
Social Networking
sophia loren
Standardized test
statistics
STEM
stephaniepacemarshall
stephendownes
strategy leadership
student achievement
student led conferences
suffering
summer
Switzerland
systemic change
teacher
Teacher
Teacher Professional Development
teachers
Teachers College Columbia University
teaching
Technology
technology
technology change
Technology integration
technology research
TED
TED Prize
textbooks
The First 90 Days
thin client
Thinking
Thomas Dewey
Tim Irwin
time management
Time To Act
transformation
transformative change
transitions
Tribes-We Need You To Lead Us
twitter
Twitter
Uniqueness
United States
University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Kentucky
vacation
Value
Vision
vision
Wagner
walkthroughs
Web 2.0
Web Filtering
Webinar
weighting
Whole New Mind
wisdom
Wordle
workforce
World Read Aloud Day
Young People