Forget the in-service workshops and the highly qualified teacher requirements. It could be that the best way for schools to improve teachers’ performance is simply to let them talk to each other—at least according to one researcher. In an award-winning study of Pittsburgh public schools, Carrie Leana, a professor of organizations and management, found that the openness of a school’s communication networks was a more important factor to students’ success on math and reading tests than teachers’ credentials or experience levels.
Leana suggests that school leaders spend less time worrying about formal teacher training and performance evaluations and more on “encouraging interaction and connections among the faculty.”
Asked what school administrators had done in response to her findings, she said: “Nothing.”