This post on Gates Foundation study: We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher:
What’s the best way to identify an effective educator?
After a three-year, $45 million research project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes it has some answers.
The most reliable way to evaluate teachers is to use a three-pronged approach built on student test scores, classroom observations by multiple reviewers and teacher evaluations from students themselves, the foundation found.
Glad to learn your views, and I shared and agreed with the critique. My concerns about those studies are:
1. Equating a good pass or score in the test to quality education is a misunderstanding about learning at this digital age. If that is what education is all about, then every effective teacher would be teaching to the TEST, to ensure the students pass the tests at the end, through repeated exercises, quizzes. Does it sound no difference to our traditional education (or where most of us have been educated)? What are the relevance of the test to the life skills required in society? What does it mean to have 100% correct, matching the answers to the model answers? Is that how a great teacher is defined?
2. Have we learnt through a Taylorist approach towards scientific management (or Taylorism), by applying it straight into education – based on the best teacher and best teaching approach?
Have we defined scientific education, where education is standardized with lesson plans, with deep down to earth “quality instruction” where the teachers are expected to carry out? What is the assumption with such an approach? Students learn best with the best instruction, by the best instructors? May be, you could train up such an instructor by having more supervision, leading them to follow a routine instruction in a classroom learning situation.
3. Have the studies explored why the students were not improving their performance in class? Was it due to the “poor performance of the teachers” only? How about the actual needs of the students, and the reasons why these students don’t perform well?
4. The best teachers are those who could support the learners to learn, based on these learners’ needs and abilities. However, I don’t think the learners would improve their performance solely because of those “best teachers”. Learners would improve their performance if they have the “how to, chance to, and want to” improve.
5. So, this requires a significant paradigm shift in education, where the learners grow their knowledge and skills in a supportive and open learning environment. This would apply to the teachers too, where teachers need to “LEARN” together with their learners in order to enhance and enrich their learning experience.
6. Relying the improvement based solely on the examination scores is really missing the point in education. Isn’t it time to empower both the teachers and learners in such an education system to flourish, instead of telling the teachers that they are not good enough in teaching, or privatizing the education to the “better provider or teachers” who could raise the score of the students.
7. Is it why there aren’t enough progress in education?