In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bill and Melinda Gates expound on their foundation's efforts to identify and improve teacher effectiveness. In doing so, they offer a comparison to the practices they used in running a software giant: At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not. Teachers don't work in anything like this kind of environment, and they want a new bargain. As evidence for this, they cite a survey the Gates ...


Four teachers remain in a competition for a $10,000 classroom grant, which will be decided by a public online vote.


The National Council on Teacher Quality released a study today examining the "changing landscape" of teacher-evaluation policies--which have proliferated in the last two years--across the states.


At the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Los Altos, Calif., you might notice something missing from every classroom—computers!


To ensure they don't overlook the basics, educators in the U.K. are being encouraged to make use of an offical checklist for managing student behavior. The idea for the checklist, developed by a school administrator who is also a government education adviser, was influenced by the work of oft-cited surgeon/writer Atul Gawande. To reduce common surgical errors, Gawande has helped develop and bring attention to a procedural checklist for hospital OR teams. The U.K.'s student-behavior checklist, titled "Getting the Simple Things Right," includes sections for both school administrators and teachers. Educators are encouraged to run through ...


A new analysis of federal data suggests that minority teacher shortages are caused not by a lack of minority candidates entering the profession but by unsatisfactory working conditions in schools. The study, conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers Richard M. Ingersoll and Henry May, finds that—contrary to conventional wisdom—the number of minority teachers in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, with the total nearly doubling. Ingersoll and May say the data, in effect, validate targeted efforts to prepare and recruit minority teaching candidates. However, the data also show that minority teachers, who are ...


A press release marketing two-for-$200 Flip video cameras for educators just came my way. Cisco announced in April that it will no longer make the devices, which many teachers have incorporated into their classrooms because they are relatively cheap and easy to use.


Here's a surprising, somewhat out-of-the-way finding: A national poll conducted last month found that most Americans (68 percent) are opposed to the idea of schools using iPads or e-readers in place print books. Interestingly, women and young people (ages 18-29) were the most strongly opposed. Only 12 percent of the young people surveyed favored the use of e-readers over printed books in schools. Anyone care to speculate on the reasons behind this? Maybe young adults are already nostalgic for their print-immersed school days? More seriously, might they be saying something about the differences in the ways people read and retain ...


Reflecting on some recent biz-tech reading he's been doing, Bill Ferriter questions whether schools are doing enough—if anything—to evaluate prospective teacher-hires by their potential for innovation. He's developed a few sample interview questions to help them along. Here's a good one: What well-established professional practice are you skeptical about? Similarly, ed-tech pioneer Will Richardson once told us that if he were a principal who was hiring new teachers, he would "look for people who aren't asking how, but instead are asking why."...


Riffing on the Occupy Wall Street movement, New York Times human rights columnist Nicholas Kristof argues that the most effective way to reduce inequality in the United States would actually be to expand early child education. Kristof reports—as any elementary teacher already knows—that significant learning gaps between well-off and disadvantaged students begin before kindergarten and have a lasting, calculable effect on achievement and opportunity. He notes: One common thread, whether I'm reporting on poverty in New York City or in Sierra Leone, is that a good education tends to be the most reliable escalator out of poverty....


Today, October 20, is the third annual National Day on Writing, according to the National Council of Teachers of English.


A new education documentary, The Learning, which premiered on PBS about a month ago, takes a close look at the experiences of four Filipina teachers, who leave their schools in the Philippines to teach in Baltimore classrooms.


Miss Eyre at NYC Educator describes feeling "insanely, irrationally jealous" of her students during their free reading time. She writes: It's really hard to do quality reading during the school year, especially if you're an English teacher and you have to stay on top of the texts you're reading with your students. ... I need someone to sit me down, stare at me, and instruct me to do nothing but read for a period of time every day. The jealousy is probably heightened in part because of her hands-off policy on book selection. Miss Eyre explains: Now, true independent reading involves ...


A chemistry teacher who teaches in Bristol, Pa., has been conducting class from Alaska via webcasts.


Well, here's one educational problem we probably don't have to worry about in the U.S.: Were you aware that the South Korean government is now conducting late-nights raids to enforce a new curfew on after-hours tutoring operations? The raids, Amanda Ripley reports in a fascinating article for Time, are part of a far-reaching effort by South Korean authorities to "humanize" the country's education system. While South Korea is frequently lauded for its students' high scores on international comparison tests (including by the Obama administration), the country's leaders are increasingly concerned that its time-honored emphasis on high-pressure school admissions exams ...


Two quick-thinking and remarkably composed phys. ed. coaches at a middle school outside Dallas are being credited with saving a 12-year-old girl's life last month.


Ariel Sacks says teachers need to be mindful of how much class time they take up with the sound of their own voice: The teacher's voice is an important piece of the teaching puzzle, but it's not the key to student learning. When the balance tips too much in the direction of the teacher's voice, it can actually hinder student learning, by diminishing space for students to think, comprehend, solve problems, collaborate with one another, and find words to express their thoughts. Avoiding the loquaciousness trap, she explains, takes practice and monitoring....


Apropos the current buzz on teacher-coaching, the Arizona Republic interviews a Mesa educator who's actually doing it: As a master teacher, I provide professional development for the teachers on our campus. That means I teach an instructional or a learning strategy during an hourlong meeting once a week to small groups of teachers throughout the day. We then follow up by observing teachers and provide them with feedback. As a master teacher, I coach teachers, provide demonstration lessons and field test new learning strategies by teaching students. In addition I try to keep my own instructional practices honed so I ...


Over at The Wall Street Journal, NFL player Hall of Fame quarterback turned entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton makes a contrary argument--that tenure hurts the teaching pool--which he illustrates with a football analogy.


Tennessee's newly implemented teacher-evaluation program is getting a less than enthusiastic reception from many educators, with some even abandoning the classroom because of it, according to a story in The Tennessean. The new evaluation program, developed in connection with the federal Race to the Top grant competition, grades teachers on both student test scores and multiple classroom observations. As of now, the observations seem to be the primary sticking point, with both teachers and principals complaining that they are cumbersome and unfair. The article notes that, among other things, the evaluators are required to use a three-page checklist to review ...


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