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Are Teachers Learners?

Author and education activist Kirsten Olson itemizes the attributes of a highly effective school. Her central point—the one that suffuses all the others—is that educators themselves need to be "passionately engaged in learning." But she expresses some doubt as to whether this is commonly the case:

Many teachers and school leaders unfortunately, just aren't very interested in learning. They seem to regard it as a chore, a way to force kids to behave, something that has to be done to kids to get them ready for adult life. They lack intellectual curiosity about research in the field, breakthroughs in cognitive research. My belief is that until teachers become deeply interested in their own work, and are driven to make their practice better and better, school will not really be about learning for anyone. It will be a chore, it will lack magic. It will be controlled by others.

If this is true—if many teachers are not "deeply interested in their own work"—the obvious follow-up question is: Why not? And what could be done about it?

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