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Address the Real Issues

Awhile back, Education Week (online) posted in the Curriculum Matters, an article titled, “Study: Give Weak Teachers Good Lesson Plans, Not Professional Development.”  The study in question was done on 360 teachers in three Virginia school districts.  Not once in the article, did the authors of the study ever define what, in their research, the characteristics of a ‘weak’ teacher was.  Only, the so-called weak teacher benefited from purchasing good lesson plans.  Final analysis:  invest in giving weaker teachers lesson plans, but don’t spend time or money teaching how to develop a good one.  Duh!

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It was really no surprise to find the authors of Mathalicious backing up the study.  Of course, it’s money in their pockets.  You can read the article http://bit.ly/29FAdqb.  In fact, I suggest that every publisher who is having trouble selling their lesson plans grab this article, it might bring in a few more dollars into their pockets.

I’m being cynical of course!  I will agree, as most teachers do out there, that many of the professional development tortures that are endured are never totally created for the teacher.  The majority of teachers feel that their PD courses are useless, never really addressing their issues.  Why?   Rarely does anyone ask teachers what they need!

The authors talked about moving average-performing teachers, but never defined what average-performing meant, to 80th percentile—It sounds impressive but doesn’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. 

Weak teachers don’t need store-bought lesson plans.  They need mentors.  They need to be taught, yes even teachers need to be taught, how to put a well-developed lesson plan that teaches to the objectives.  Oops, I didn’t say test.  Darn right!  All lessons should have objectives, we should tell the student ahead of time what he is going to learn, learn how to teach students how to ask questions, how to analyze feedback, and how to create an assessment to find out if the objective was learned!  The test will take care of itself if objectives are met.

I’m tired of hearing Ph.Duh’s who have either (1) never been in a classroom, or (2) haven’t been in one for years, dream up their studies so that they can publish their article, keep their jobs, and have something to talk about at some roundtable lunch meeting.  The simple fact is weak teachers need mentoring,  a safe environment to question and get feedback,  resources, and the time to develop strong lesson objects.  Any Questions?

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1 Comment

  1. asthedeerpants says:

    Okay — so, a bit “testy” in the language – and I understand. It is frustrating. But – in my unsolicited opinion, you are so correct. What you are hitting on is true in many avenues of life as well. Most people, in going the extra mile to further their education, have a desire; a directive; a “career” in mind. To choose teaching (becoming a teacher) is one of the ones that, in my years of living, I have noticed to be one of the more purposeful choices. In other words, a person doesn’t just “oops” into the profession. They purposefully go the distance for certification, and so forth. This reinforces your article. When a teacher is weak, despondency can set in, and direction can be lost. To mentor a teacher, and give them the undergirding they need helps them get their compass back on track.

    BTW – one of my favorite movies is “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” – Remember when the principal gave him the compass? That’s a very good picture of what is needed for so many who are facing burn out.

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