« Recess Recession | Main | Not-So-Sunny Florida »

A Million Dollars for Your Thoughts

| 8 Comments

Money is tight everywhere (look no further than your school district), but the teaching profession recently got a financial boost from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, according to eSchoolNews. His foundation is funding $10 million in grants to study teacher effectiveness and its bearing on student achievement. The grant recipients include Educational Testing Service ($7.3 million); ACT, Inc. ($579,000); and Teach for America ($1.9 million).

Gates also hopes to post videos online of the "best" teachers at work to provide a model for other educators. One of the new focus areas for his foundation, explained Gates in a letter, is to identify what makes a great teacher great. To that end, writes Gates, “Whenever I talk to teachers, it is clear that they want to be great, but that they need better tools so they can measure progress and keep improving.”

When it comes to children getting a good education, Gates writes, the teacher is king. "If you want your child to have the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school."

8 Comments

Wow - I'm excited to hear this! I'd love to see videos and get a good example of what is thought to be "excellent" teaching! As a teacher that constantly tries to improve her skills, this could be a terrific resource. Cudos to Mr. Gates for trying something outside of the box!

Kudos for thinking outside the box, indeed!
It would be great to see some teaching methods developed for the varieties of kinds of minds that attend the classroom. Great minds do not all think alike! We should stop pursuing the same old linear-mind type teaching and have the classroom reflect and encourage everyone. It is sure to promote broader success in education.

The taping segments should be excerpts , thematically organized. An entire tape is too fraught with criticizable elements in the same way that even a good 18 hole golf round spends some time in the woods. The tapes should illustrate key principles such as those embedded in "wait time" in action. Bonding, connecting knowledge, student curiosity, cooperative learning,formative assessment, transitions, higher order thinking, problem solving, scientific reasoning, written composition, teaching in the arts, are some examples of categories.

This is a great effort. My doctoral thesis was on how teachers learn and the number one result was that teachers learn by observing and reflecting on teaching. Frank T. Lyman, Jr.

This is intriguing news. I strongly suggest the Gates Foundation speak with Thomas Armstrong, Elizabeth (Betty) Jones, and others who have devoted their lives to craating a learning environment that engages the learner and makes learning fun. It is only then will students want to go to school because they will be challenged and actually learn something that is meaningful to their lives.

This is intriguing news. I strongly suggest the Gates Foundation speak with Thomas Armstrong, Elizabeth (Betty) Jones, and others who have devoted their lives to craating a learning environment that engages the learner and makes learning fun. It is only then will students want to go to school because they will be challenged and actually learn something that is meaningful to their lives.

The teacher is the second most important element in a child's education. First, parents need to understand just how important their roles are in putting children on the path to a good education by providing constructive attention to them in the home. Without that, teachers must take precious time to get them ready to learn, which is never the same as good parenting.

Teachers who are innovators are the most important resource once students enter formal education. A mixture of pedagogy and interactive teaching makes for better preparation for learning, utilizing students' self-motivation and self-direction, as they continue through lifelong learning. It seems that educational institutions don't look at the student as an evolving person, who has needs and wants that change through his whole life. Preparing a student should be viewed more mentor-like than jail warden-like, fostering self-discovery and self-realization.

With all the technology available today, and with the abilities of students to take advantage of them, teachers must change the way curriculum is presented, allowing students to access information and avail themselves of experiences from around the world. Students should be encouraged to share, from their own perspectives, what they know, what they need to know, and how they feel about the latter in order to foster communication face to face, as opposed to only through electronic media.

I hope the Gates Foundation will not only give kudos to those whose test scores are good, but it will really spotlight teachers whose classes are models for innovation and student involvement in determining how best to prepare students for life. Education should not be about "what I say goes", but better "here are the how-to's, now what can we do with them together".

Barbara-Ann Kaidy

The more opportuniies to view excellence in teaaching available for all to see and use is badly needed. Annenberg Media (http://www.learner.org/index.html) has produced free video online of excellent teachers across the country since 1997.

I could give several examples of excellent teachers - we,as teachers, know effective colleagues when we seem them. The one element effective teachers have in common is the gift of what I call "buy in" - In otherwords, they are able to get the parents and the students to understand the importance/relevance of the subject matter they are teaching and that they (the teacher) really does care how well the student is doing in class. These teachers don't use any method of teaching that hasn't been done before - but they make sure the student is responsible for learning the material. They contact parents with positive as well as negative information about the progress of their child, they support the students in their classes by taking a real interest in what they do in and out of the classroom by attending their games, drama events, etc., they find ways to create meaningful collaboration among parent, student and teacher and between student peer groups. You can teach your heart out - but if there is no support from home and very little meaningful connection between the student and the teacher - all is usually lost except for the students who would have excelled anyway due to their own internal motivation to succeed.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Angelia Greiner: I could give several examples of excellent teachers - we,as read more
  • Dean Cristol: The more opportuniies to view excellence in teaaching available read more
  • Barbara-Ann Kaidy: The teacher is the second most important element in a read more
  • Nancy Chavez: This is intriguing news. I strongly suggest the Gates Foundation read more
  • Nancy Chavez: This is intriguing news. I strongly suggest the Gates Foundation read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here