Leadership and Teambuilding Training

The Motivated Block Training System

hqdefaultManaging people efficaciously and productively is the primary objective of every organisation. That is where it becomes quintessential to make way for team building and leadership skills which paves way for result-oriented behavior among the members, be it employees of corporate sector or students working on a project. It is true that single person possess limited information, techniques and ability to handle huge amount of work but ‘team’ creates easy access to vast information and expertise pool. That’s why team work is always considered as the foundation of a successful endeavor. Team leaders are therefore, indispensable in order to manage team and provide guidance to ensure effective and high quality, productive work. Leader should be aware of capability of each individual of team, assign work according to it and keep track of all of them should follow by. It is true that genuine leadership skills are rare to found and becoming quite cumbersome to develop, these days, in the wake of emerging trend of heterogeneity and multicultural groups in our society, work places and academic circles. To incorporate the diversity there is need for all-encompassing program which pave way for the enlightened and profitable future. This is the main reason why there is indelible utility of motivated block training system for the teachers, students and corporate people if they want to be the forerunners in this intensely competitive world. It is universally acknowledged, “Actions speak louder than words”. This program emphasis greatly on the enhancement of the non verbal cues like body language, expressions and tone of voice to facilitate the team building over the conventional methods of relying on the communication channels only. The different section of the motivated Block training system is em-blazed with the ‘The motivation hygiene theory’ which primarily focuses on the creative and practical way of motivating others to work diligently in a team. This also give due consideration in fostering compliance as well as technique to assert and delegate properly. These are the crucial aspects that pave way for the success of any organisation both commercial as well as academic. Yes, it is the cornucopia of finding the best ever solutions, techniques, practical exercises for igniting enthusiasm among the team so that they can connect wholeheartedly in a team for cumulative work effort. The results are indeed astonishing in terms of higher academic scores, increased involvement in the group activities, hike in productivity and indubitably, the optimum actualization of personal interest of each participant. There is no arena of an organisation which this program avoids. Its holistic nature makes it one of the most apt models to invigorate a monotonous work place with endless possibilities. To witness more you can seek this program at http://motivatedpresenters.com/training/student-programs/ and watch a video of the training system in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPwClxA0Osc to get the real essence of the program. It would certainly prove to be a gratifying experience to facilitate committed teammates towards one objective and see the “miracle” happening.  All this is possible only with the effective implementation of an apt program that delivers exactly what it promises.

Engaging Students in the Classroom!

bryan fiese motivates teachers to engage students

Student Engagement

Kids of today’s generation are living on a brand of new technologies and constantly adapting and updating to the current trends. They have access to Ipads, octa core powered processor devices and a lot more. With these students developing at such exponential rates the teachers should also evolve and adapt and change their teaching methodologies in such a way that they co-exist within the Student-Teacher Eco system and help understand the students better.

Engaging students in the class room!

Bryan Fiese’s rules have transformed the way teachers now interact with the student and how they mingle with them. Bryan Fiese techniques and methodologies have shaped a new trend in this field.

Engagement-Begins-with-a-smile-at-the-class-door

As the saying goes, “The first impression is the best impression” Welcome the students with a hearty smile which makes them comfortable and creates an instant connection. This helps you have a strong bond and develop further on this.

Arrange-Classroom-in-a-Semi-Circle-or-U-Shaped-Seating-Setup

Long gone is the traditional row by row, end to end setup. A semi-circle seating approach allows the teacher to easily interact with all the students, thereby allowing them to concentrate on each individual. A healthy communication and dialogue is maintained in the classroom.

3.       Develop rapport with the students

Start striking a good conversation with the students; ask questions which evoke a healthy debate, share stories from your experiences which help the students understand the concepts better.

4.       Bring in the Enthusiasm

You need to be self-confident and have an authoritative use of voice patterns, shift notes and adapt yourself according to the situation. The Body language should evoke a sense of confidence which help to connect easily with the student crowd.

5.       Use Supporting Technique

Make use of supporting technique 55% of the time. This helps the students understand better and progress well through the course.

6.       Facilitated Learning

This is a revolutionary technique which involves a student talking 80% of the time. This helps in a substantial increase in student level interaction. It helps their analytical and verbal skills. Since they talk and explain the topics, it helps them understand the topics better and help them grow.

7.       Audio – Visual Techniques

Deliver the same concepts using Audio –visual mode of explanation. Since more senses are involved like listening, viewing and perceiving this helps the students to gather more information and relate it examples. These kinds of techniques help students’ analytical and sensing abilities.

8.       Brain Plasticity

A remarkable and trend setting methodology which help the students to make use of specific brain functionalities, helping them achieve more focus and concentration. Full Brain functionality helps them gain more knowledge and garner more sensory abilities.

9.       Achievable goals

There is no point in setting goals which are impossible for to attain in a short span of time. Like 5 different fingers on our hands, each student is different, his or her individual subject grasping abilities differ from others. We need to device a work plan and set attainable and achievable goals for individual students. As these students succeed on this goal, it helps them to gain confidence and grow further. With each successive goal they progress on their skill and abilities.

10.   Change Is Good

Keeping things monotonous doesn’t serve any purpose. We need to constantly keep changing the way things work. Keep the students guessing on what is going to happen next? The element of surprise always helps in keeping the students engaged and more interactive.

 Teachers are student’s role models, guidance and form a stepping stone towards success. They need to develop and mold themselves to help students achieve their maximum potential.

 Modules:

Module 1:

  • Understanding how to teach to this generation.
  • How to create a facilitated learning environment that is engaging.
  • Effective listening skills.

 Module 2:

Connecting with students through:

  • Verbal patterns.
  • Brain functions.
  • Personality modeling.

Module 3:

  • Creating an engaging classroom setting.
  • Empowerment  techniques for disciplining (scripting techniques).
  • Handling conflict.

Module 4:

  • Providing intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

Module 5:

  • Delivering your lesson with pizzazz.
  • Balancing technology and creating visual stimuli.

Module 6:

  • Sustaining a “Flow Environment”

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Learned Helplessness – Great Article by Carmen Reyes

frustrated-studentLearned helplessness is the belief that our own behavior does not influence what happens next; that is, behavior does not control outcomes or results. For example, when a student believes that she is in charge of the outcome, she may think, “If I study hard for this test, I’ll get a good grade.” On the contrary, a learned helpless student thinks, “No matter how hard I study for this test, I’ll always get a bad grade.” In school, learned helplessness relates to poor grades and underachievement, and to behavior difficulties. Students who experience repeated school failure are particularly prone to develop a learned helpless response style. Because of repeated academic failure, these students begin to doubt their own abilities, leading them to doubt that they can do anything to overcome their school difficulties. Consequently, they decrease their achievement efforts, particularly when faced with difficult materials, which leads to more school failure. This pattern of giving up when facing difficult tasks reinforces the child’s belief that he or she cannot overcome his or her academic difficulties.

Learned helplessness seems to contribute to the school failure experienced by many students with a learning disability. In a never-ending cycle, children with a learning disability frequently experience school difficulties over an extended period, and across a variety of tasks, school settings, and teachers, which in turn reinforces the child’s feeling of being helpless.

Characteristics of Learned Helpless Students

Some characteristics of learned helpless children are:

1. Low motivation to learn, and diminished aspirations to succeed in school.

2. Low outcome expectations; that is, they believe that, no matter what they do in school, the outcome will always be negative (e.g. bad grades). In addition, they believe that they are powerless to prevent or overcome a negative outcome.

3. Lack of perceived control over their own behavior and the environmental events; one’s own actions cannot lead to success.

4. Lack of confidence in their skills and abilities (low self-efficacy expectations). These children believe that their school difficulties are caused by their own lack of ability and low intelligence, even when they have adequate ability and normal intelligence. They are convinced that they are unable to perform the required actions to achieve a positive outcome.

5. They underestimate their performance when they do well in school, attributing success to luck or chance, e.g., “I was lucky that this test was easy.”

6. They generalize from one failure situation or experience to other situations where control is possible. Because they expect failure all the time, regardless of their real skills and abilities, they underperform all the time.

7. They focus on what they cannot do, rather than focusing on their strengths and skills.

8. Because they feel incapable of implementing the necessary courses of action, they develop passivity and their school performance deteriorates.

Closing the Achievement Gap – No Teacher Left Behind

Teacher quality and student achievement: Research review

teacher and studentThe importance of good teachers is no secret. Schools and their communities have always sought out the best teachers they could get in the belief that their students’ success depends on it.

But what we know instinctively still leaves some big questions, especially for those in charge of hiring, training and retaining a qualified teaching force. To begin with, how do you define a good teacher? What characteristics do you look for? Given all the factors related to student performance, how much impact can we expect from teachers? And finally, if teachers are so important to student learning, how can we make sure all students receive the benefit of good teachers?

In this overview, the Center looks at research that seeks to answer these questions.
Teacher quality counts
More than two decades of research findings are unequivocal about the connection between teacher quality and student learning. Indeed, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future (1996), the influential report of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, made teaching the core of its “three simple premises” in its blueprint for reforming the nation’s schools. They are:
•What teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn.
•Recruiting, preparing, and retaining good teachers is the central strategy for improving our schools.
•School reform cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions under which teachers can teach and teach well.

Key teacher quality provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) underscore the importance of these premises. Central to NCLB’s goal of closing the achievement gap by 2014 is the requirement that all teachers be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year. For new teachers, this means that they must meet existing state certification requirements and demonstrate mastery of the content area in which they teach, either by passing a content knowledge test or by having majored in the subject in an undergraduate or graduate program.

Achieving this goal is proving to be a challenge for states and districts. The 2004 estimates put the number of teachers who have not yet met the highly qualified standard at 20 percent in elementary schools and 25 percent in secondary schools (U.S. Department of Education 2004).

Yet a growing body of research shows why current education policies emphasize teaching and why it’s important for states and districts to rise to this challenge. These studies not only provide insight into the characteristics of good teachers, they reveal how these contribute to student learning and closing achievement gaps.
Gauging the effect of teachers on student achievement
The most compelling evidence for the importance of teaching came initially from economists who adapted value-added models from business to measure the effect of teachers on student learning. While the statistical methods are complex, the definition of effective teaching is not. Simply, researchers looked for the change in students’ test scores according to the teacher they were assigned to. A highly effective teacher, therefore, is one whose students show the most gains from one year to the next. By using this approach, researchers are able to isolate the effect of the teacher from other factors related to student performance, for example, students’ prior academic record or school they attend.

Reports and data from two initiatives in Tennessee—the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) and Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project—and one in Texas—the University of Texas at Dallas Texas Schools Project—provide good starting points for understanding how much of an effect teachers have on student outcomes.

Insights from Tennessee and Texas

Highlights
•The effect of teaching on student learning is greater than student ethnicity or family income, school attended by student, or class size.
•The effect is stronger for poor and/or minority students than for their more affluent and/or white peers, although all groups benefit from effective teachers.
•The effects accumulate over the years.

Tennessee

TVAAS was the first data-tracking system in the country to measure individual teacher performance according to annual gains in student test scores. Initiated in 1990, this system provides extensive data on state achievement tests for all students in grades 2-8 in Tennessee and allows for comparisons of teacher effects on students’ learning. Other states, such as North Carolina, Arizona, and Florida, have since adopted similar models; additional states are expected to follow suit.

The Tennessee Department of Education’s STAR project was an experiment designed to evaluate the effects of smaller classes on student achievement over four years. The experiment randomly assigned students from various racial and socioeconomic backgrounds to small and regular-size classes in 79 schools across the state. STAR’s reliance on randomized samples, combined with the data-tracking capacity of TVAAS, offered an important and unique opportunity to examine variations in student achievement where the only difference between classes was the teacher.

Analyses of TVAAS and STAR data indicated that teachers had a substantial effect on student achievement. While the Tennessee data from STAR showed achievement gains associated with smaller class sizes, a stronger achievement gain is associated with teacher quality (Nye, Konstantopoulos and Hedges 2004). In addition, differences in student performance were more heavily influenced by the teacher than by student ethnicity or class, or by the school attended by the student.

The positive effects associated with being taught by a highly effective teacher, defined as a teacher whose average student score gain is in the top 25 percent, were stronger for poor and minority students than for their white and affluent counterparts. For example, one study of the Tennessee data found that low-income students were more likely to benefit from instruction by a highly effective teacher than were their more advantaged peers (Nye, Konstantopoulos, and Hedges 2004). Another study found that the achievement gains from having a highly effective teacher could be almost three times as large for African American students as for white students, even when comparing students who start with similar achievement levels (Sanders and Rivers 1996).

A second important finding from this work was that the positive effects of teacher quality appear to accumulate over the years. That is, students who were enrolled in a succession of classes taught by effective teachers demonstrated greater learning gains than did students who had the least effective teachers one after another. For example, fifth-grade math students who had three consecutive highly effective teachers scored between 52 and 54 percentile points ahead of students who had three consecutive teachers who were least effective, even though the math achievement of both groups of students was the same prior to entering second grade (Sanders and Rivers 1996).

Texas

Findings from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Texas Schools Project lent additional credence to the Tennessee findings. This project gathered individual-level data on more than 10 million Texas students in grades K-12 from 1990 to 2002. By comparing the achievement of similar students within the same schools but assigned to different teachers, researchers were able to isolate the effects of the teacher on student achievement.

In their analysis of these data, Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain (2005) found that teacher quality differences explained the largest portion of the variation in reading and math achievement. As in the Tennessee findings, Jordan, Mendro, and Weerasinghe (1997) found that the difference between students who had three consecutive highly effective teachers (again defined as those whose students showed the most improvement) and those who had three consecutive low-effect teachers (those with the least improvement) in the Dallas schools was 34 percentile points in reading achievement and 49 percentile points in math.

Characteristics of an effective teacher

Highlights

The following teacher qualities are related to higher student achievement are:
•Content knowledge: Effective teachers have a solid background in the subject area they teach as measured by a college major or minor in the field.
•Teaching experience: Teaching experience, typically five years or more, produces higher student results. Some studies further suggest that the effect of inexperience can be a significant obstacle to student achievement.
•Teacher training and credentials: Certified teachers are more effective than uncertified, particularly in mathematics. In general, teachers with emergency certificates don’t perform as well as those with traditional certification. However, opinions conflict about the effectiveness of Teach for America (TFA) teachers, who enter classrooms with alternate certificates. Some comparative studies show larger gains by TFA teachers and others show fewer.
•Overall academic ability: Teachers with stronger academic skills perform better, whether these skills are measured by teachers’ SAT or ACT scores, grade point average or selectivity of the college they attended.

The Tennessee and Texas studies provide empirical evidence that teachers make a substantial difference in student achievement. But they are silent on the question of what characterizes an “effective teacher.” Other research helps pinpoint the dimensions of teacher quality. In the following sections, we review research findings on teacher characteristics that are commonly recognized measures of quality: Content knowledge, teaching experience, training and credentials, and overall academic ability. Each of these measures shows a positive relationship to student performance. At the same time, the studies vary in their assessment of how strong an effect each dimension has on student outcomes.

Content knowledge

Teachers’ knowledge of the content they teach is a consistently strong predictor of student performance, even though studies differ in how strong its effects are. This research typically uses teachers’ college degree to represent content knowledge.
•Minor in field. Darling-Hammond (1999) found that, although other factors had a stronger association with achievement, the presence of a teacher who did not have at least a minor in the subject matter that he or she taught accounted for about 20 percent of the variation in NAEP scores.
•Major in field. Goldhaber and Brewer (1996) found that the presence of teachers with at least a major in their subject area was the most reliable predictor of student achievement scores in math and science. They also found that, although advanced degrees in general were not associated with higher student achievement, an advanced degree that was specific to the subject area that a teacher taught was associated with higher achievement. In contrast, other studies did not indicate that teachers with graduate-level training in a content area performed better than did teachers having an undergraduate degree in their content area (Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain 2005; Ferguson and Ladd 1996).

Teaching experience

Research has also been consistent in finding positive correlations between years of teaching experience and higher student achievement. Teachers with more than five years in the classroom seem to be the most effective. Conversely, inexperience is shown to have a strong negative effect on student performance.
•Experienced teachers produce higher student test scores. A comprehensive analysis by Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine (1996) examined data from 60 studies and found a positive relationship between years of teacher experience and student test scores. Similarly, the UTD Texas Schools Project data showed that students of experienced teachers attained significantly higher levels of achievement than did students of new teachers (those with one to three years of experience) (Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain 2005).
•Schools with more inexperienced teachers have higher drop-out rates. In a related finding, an analysis of math achievement and dropout rates in a sample of California high schools (Fetler 2001) found that schools whose dropout rates were in the highest 10 percent had 50 percent more new teachers than did schools in the lowest 10 percent.

Teacher training and credentials

There are several studies providing evidence that the students of certified teachers perform better than students of uncertified teachers.
•Certification in math produces better math scores. Fuller and Alexander’s (2004) analysis identified similar students who were taught by Texas math teachers who were also similar except that some were certified and others were not. The study found that the students taught by certified teachers scored better on the state math achievement test. A study that examined the math achievement of elementary students also found that students taught by new, uncertified teachers did significantly worse on achievement tests than did those taught by new, certified teachers (Laczko-Kerr and Berliner 2002).
•New or uncertified teachers have the least effect. Likewise, Darling-Hammond (1999) found a significant positive association between achievement and teacher certification. She also found a significant negative association between achievement and the presence of a high proportion of new or uncertified teachers in the school.
•Teachers on emergency certificates don’t perform as well as fully certified teachers. Fetler (1999) found that teachers with emergency teaching certificates did not perform as well as teachers who were fully certified, even when controlling for the amount of teaching experience.

The factor that sets certified teachers apart from other teachers is usually their training in teaching methods and in child and adolescent development, in addition to content knowledge. Because certification standards between states differ significantly, several researchers have sought to evaluate the effects of the teacher training that certification indicates. An analysis that synthesized findings from a group of studies showed that teachers with pedagogical training performed better than those who entered teaching without such training (Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine 1996).
Mixed reviews on alternate routes
Recently, studies have sought to evaluate the effects of teacher training by comparing teachers who take alternative routes to teaching with those who complete a traditional teacher preparation program. Alternative routes, which can take a number of different forms and which are growing in popularity, offer opportunities for people with an undergraduate degree in an area other than education to enter teaching and work toward certification while bypassing some of the education coursework that is required of college students getting their certification through a school of education.
•Conflicting research on Teach for America. One study of Teach for America (TFA)1 teachers in Houston found that TFA teachers had a positive effect on student achievement scores when compared with other new teachers (Raymond, Fletcher, and Luque 2001). Another analysis of the same data confirmed that students of TFA teachers did outperform those taught by other untrained teachers, especially in math; however, they did not perform as well as new teachers who had pedagogical training and certification (Darling-Hammond, Holtzman, Gatlin, and Heilig 2005).
•Little agreement on the balance of content knowledge and pedagogical training. Most of the research suggests that teachers who have had pedagogical training and who have received certification produce better student achievement scores than those who have not, although some studies dispute this finding (Goldhaber and Brewer 2000). Together, these studies have touched off a debate over the optimal balance between content and pedagogical knowledge (see, for example, Goldhaber Brewer 2000; Darling-Hammond, Berry, and Thoreson 2001).

Criticisms of teacher training and licensing procedures stem largely from a belief that the requirements for certification do not encompass all the characteristics that should be sought in teachers and thus should be reformed to require more content knowledge and displays of teaching competency (Walsh and Snyder 2004). While different certification requirements in different states make generalizing about the research difficult (Hanushek, Rivkin, and Taylor 1996), most research does show a positive connection between the training required for certification and student achievement.
Overall academic ability
There is research that has shown that students of teachers who have greater academic ability—be it measured through SAT or ACT scores, GPA, IQ, tests of verbal ability, or selectivity of the college attended—perform better. As mentioned earlier, the one exception where the evidence is mixed occurs in studies that used the attainment of advanced degrees as a proxy for academic ability. Most of the research on these traits is old (see Darling-Hammond 1999 for a summary), but more recent studies support these results.
•Teachers’ verbal ability counts. Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine’s (1996) analysis showed an overall positive relationship between a teacher’s verbal ability and student performance.
•Teachers with high ACT scores produce better readers. A study of teachers in Alabama by Ferguson and Ladd (1996) found a correlation between a teacher’s higher ACT scores and higher reading scores for her students. But the researchers found no significant difference for math scores.

How does teacher quality affect the achievement gap?

Regardless of how it’s measured, teacher quality is not distributed equitably across schools and districts. Poor and minority students are much less likely to get well-qualified teachers than students who are better off.
•The Tennessee studies revealed that African American students were almost twice as likely to be taught by the least effective teachers (Sanders and Rivers 1996).
•Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s national Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) showed that students in high-poverty secondary schools were 77 percent more likely to be taught by teachers without degrees in the subject they were teaching than were their affluent counterparts. Students in high-minority schools were 40 percent more likely to be taught by out-of-field teachers. The problem is especially acute in middle schools (Jerald and Ingersoll 2002).
•Poor and minority students are about twice as likely to have teachers with less than three years of teaching experience (National Center for Education Statistics 2000).
•Districts that are predominantly poor or minority were considerably more likely to employ uncertified teachers (Darling-Hammond 1999).
•Teacher mobility is a much greater problem for poor and minority students; teachers are much more likely to move from urban to suburban schools than vice versa (Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin 2004).

The distribution of teachers with these qualities has grown more inequitable in recent years. Jerald and Ingersoll (2002) showed that the problem of out-of-field teachers actually got worse for disadvantaged students during the 1990s. In addition, some states’ efforts to reduce class size—and in so doing creating a need to increase the teacher workforce—have led to the hiring of more unqualified and untrained teachers, thus minimizing the possible benefits of lower class sizes (Jepsen and Rivkin 2002).

The impending teacher shortage, estimated at more than two million teachers by 2007 (Ingersoll 2003), could exacerbate the inequitable distribution of teacher quality in the coming decades unless policymakers and educational leaders find ways of increasing the supply of skilled teachers and ensuring that the lowest performing students are enrolled in their classes.
Implications for closing the achievement gap
Research consistently shows that teacher quality—whether measured by content knowledge, experience, training and credentials, or general intellectual skills—is strongly related to student achievement: Simply, skilled teachers produce better student results. Many researchers and analysts argue that the fact that poor and minority students are the least likely to have qualified teachers is itself a major contributor to the achievement gap. It follows that assigning experienced, qualified teachers to low-performing schools and students is likely to pay off in better performance and narrowing gaps.

This is sometimes easier said than done. Some attempts to redistribute good teachers to low-performing schools have not been entirely successful. The most common strategy has been to offer pay increases or signing bonuses for teachers to come to high-need areas or to teach high-need subjects. Massachusetts, for example, offered a $20,000 signing bonus to attract qualified candidates into the teaching profession. Yet even when the incentives were substantial, teachers have not always been willing to go to or to stay in difficult schools. Major drawbacks to these efforts were: (1) not enough attention to what was needed to retain teachers, and (2) too much attention to individuals and too little on schools (Liu, Johnson, and Peske 2003).

What these results mean is that incentives to work in hard-to-staff schools should also take into account the working conditions they provide for teachers. For example, low-performing schools often have weak organizational supports for teachers. Often they do not have a culture of high expectations for students and teachers or that values teacher learning, collegiality, and cooperation. Districts also need strategies to ensure that these schools have strong and resourceful principals and that teachers have sustained professional learning opportunities, including intensive long-term new teacher-induction programs, in which they can work with colleague to continually sharpen and upgrade their knowledge and skills. (see high-performing, high-poverty schools )

This research also suggests that scattering a handful of good teachers around the district is not going to produce wide-ranging results. One study has identified a teacher quality “tipping point” when the proportion of underqualified teachers is about 20 percent of the total school faculty. Beyond this point, schools no longer have the ability to improve student achievement (Shields, Esch, Humphrey, Young, Gaston, and Hunt 1999). Clearly, districts need to recruit, develop, and retain a well-qualified teaching force.
Toward a highly qualified teacher in every classroom
Questions still remain for research to answer. Most of the effective teacher studies, for example, have focused on elementary school. While a few studies suggest that the teaching effect is somewhat less in high school, a lot more needs to be discovered before we can make that statement with confidence. In addition, the conflicting findings on the effectiveness of alternate route teachers need to be resolved, especially since many districts rely on such non-traditional candidates to deal with teacher shortages. We also need to know more about the incentives and working conditions that will attract highly effective teachers to traditionally hard-to-staff schools.

But as this review has shown, there is already enough evidence to show unequivocally that good teachers are vital to raising student achievement and closing achievement gaps. The challenge for districts is to ensure that every classroom is staffed by a skilled, qualified teacher.

There are a number of actions to take:

•Districts can step up recruitment efforts to hire teacher candidates who have strong academic credentials and who have completed a rigorous teacher preparation program.
•District recruiters could assess the rigor of teacher preparation programs by closely examining transcripts and other records that identify and describe the actual courses that teacher candidates have taken in order to be certified. This information could prompt K–16 discussions between districts and institutions of higher education regarding ways to ensure that teacher preparation programs explicitly address the districts’ needs.
•States and districts can also collaborate with higher education to target and recruit top candidates to enter teaching. K–16 partnerships can further help address areas of shortage through dual enrollment agreements, faculty sharing and distance learning opportunities.
•For newly hired teachers, districts can establish and maintain intensive, long-term induction programs that focus on helping new teachers meet challenging professional performance standards.

States and districts can also explore value-added methods for monitoring teacher effectiveness, such as those used in Texas, North Carolina and other states. This data helps inform decisions about where to assign teachers, how to staff schools, and what supports and professional development opportunities are needed in order to maximize the benefits of the most valuable academic resource, teachers.

The Center for Public Education will continue to monitor state and district efforts to provide each child with a highly qualified, effective teacher.

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This document was prepared by Policy Studies Associates (PSA). PSA, based in Washington, D.C, is a research and evaluation consulting firm specializing in education and youth development. Its clients include federal, state, and local government agencies, foundations, and other organizations.

Posted: November 1, 2005

© 2005 The Center for Public Education

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1 Teach for America (TFA) is an AmeriCorps program that places recent college graduates in teaching positions in high-need districts throughout the country. Participants typically do not have education backgrounds and receive a brief training and induction period before beginning their teaching assignments. It should be noted, however, that TFA is highly competitive and often attracts students from top universities.

Interesting Study – IASB Lighthouse Project

IASB Research Shows School Boards Make a Difference in Student Achievement

Group-portrait of a international businessteam. A broad and diverse group.School boards in high-achieving districts are significantly different in their knowledge and beliefs than school boards in low-achieving districts. And, this difference appears to carry through among administrators and teachers throughout the districts, according to results of a research study released in September 2000 by the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB).

In the arena of educational research, the effect of school boards on student achievement is largely uncharted territory. The IASB study is one of only a few ever to study school boards based on quantifiable, reliable measures of student achievement.

IASB researchers conducted nearly 160 interviews with board members and educators in three high- and three low-achieving districts over the course of nearly two years. Because Iowa does not have a reliable statewide student achievement database, the interviews were conducted in Georgia, where a comprehensive database exists. IASB used reliable data to ensure that the schools were not only comparable to each other but to districts in Iowa in terms of enrollment, percent of children living in poverty, spending per student, household income and other factors.

The results show that school boards in districts with high student achievement:
• Consistently expressed the belief that all students can learn and that the school could teach all students. This “no excuses” belief system resulted in high standards for students and an on-going dedication to improvement. In low-achieving districts, board members had limited expectations and often focused on factors that they believed kept students from learning, such as poverty, lack of parental support or societal factors.

• Were far more knowledgeable about teaching and learning issues, including school improvement goals, curriculum, instruction, assessment and staff development. They were able to clearly describe the purposes and processes of school improvement efforts and identify the board’s role in supporting those efforts. They could give specific examples of how district goals were being carried out by administrators and teachers.

• Used data and other information on student needs and results to make decisions. The high-achieving boards regularly monitored progress on improvement efforts and modified direction as a result.

• Created a supportive workplace for staff. Boards in high-achieving districts supported regular staff development to help teachers be more effective, supported shared leadership and decision making among staff, and regularly expressed appreciation for staff members.

• Involved their communities. Board members identified how they connect with and listen to their communities and focused on involving parents in education.
School boards in high-achieving districts are significantly different in their knowledge and beliefs than school boards in low-achieving districts. And, this difference appears to carry through among administrators and teachers throughout the districts, according to results of a research study released in September 2000 by the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB).

In the arena of educational research, the effect of school boards on student achievement is largely uncharted territory. The IASB study is one of only a few ever to study school boards based on quantifiable, reliable measures of student achievement.

IASB researchers conducted nearly 160 interviews with board members and educators in three high- and three low-achieving districts over the course of nearly two years. Because Iowa does not have a reliable statewide student achievement database, the interviews were conducted in Georgia, where a comprehensive database exists. IASB used reliable data to ensure that the schools were not only comparable to each other but to districts in Iowa in terms of enrollment, percent of children living in poverty, spending per student, household income and other factors.

The results show that school boards in districts with high student achievement:
• Consistently expressed the belief that all students can learn and that the school could teach all students. This “no excuses” belief system resulted in high standards for students and an on-going dedication to improvement. In low-achieving districts, board members had limited expectations and often focused on factors that they believed kept students from learning, such as poverty, lack of parental support or societal factors.

• Were far more knowledgeable about teaching and learning issues, including school improvement goals, curriculum, instruction, assessment and staff development. They were able to clearly describe the purposes and processes of school improvement efforts and identify the board’s role in supporting those efforts. They could give specific examples of how district goals were being carried out by administrators and teachers.

• Used data and other information on student needs and results to make decisions. The high-achieving boards regularly monitored progress on improvement efforts and modified direction as a result.

• Created a supportive workplace for staff. Boards in high-achieving districts supported regular staff development to help teachers be more effective, supported shared leadership and decision making among staff, and regularly expressed appreciation for staff members.

• Involved their communities. Board members identified how they connect with and listen to their communities and focused on involving parents in education.

Related Information:

• IASB Lighthouse Research Report, published in the IASB Compass, September 2000.

•The Lighthouse Inquiry: The technical research report of IASB’s Lighthouse Study.