Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 10/In the News

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Scarlett1 (talk) 04:33, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Effective Teaching: In the News

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Author: Deborah Nielson

Learning Targets

The reader will...

be able to identify some characteristics of an effective teacher

be able to identify accountability measures

be able to identify some ideas on helping teachers become effective

be able to identify some methods used to evaluate effective teachers

Table of Contents

Characteristics of an Effective Teacher
Accountability Measures
Helping Teachers Become More Effective
Concluding thoughts
Answer Key


Education in the news these days is scary. Budgets being cut, loss of teaching jobs, lack of programs, increased classroom sizes are some of the main topics. We must ask ourselves, "where does this leave our children?"

Unfortunately, too much emphasis seems to be placed on standardized testing and not enough on creative curriculums. Along with a generation of students who are Internet savvy, give "old-school" teachers a new hurdle to overcome. Teachers are required to teach to a test. However, time constraints do not leave time to ensure that students understand the material and retain the information. Teachers must constantly find new and effective methods to present the material. Because the computer/electronic age does not allow for a laissez-faire style of teaching, students are subjected to a more rapid-fire teaching. As teaching and learning change, the education system must be revamped to ensure that teachers have all the tools necessary to be effective in this new generation classroom.

Characteristics of an effective teacher

Keeping up to date with new technology has made a major impact on the art of becoming an effective teacher and rising to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The challenge of becoming an effective teacher is to teach students using a variety of methods. One professor at Kent State suggests, "using classroom parties to teach students about measurement." (McLean, J., 2009). There is a new course at Kent State this year, according to Jackie McLean, that "is designed to help future English teachers learn how to use new technology in their classrooms...students will learn how to use blogs, wikis, podcasts and Nings"( McLean, J., 2009). In this age of technology, in order to effectively teach and reach students on their levels, teachers must keep up with the times and keep learning about new things themselves so that they can provide a quality education to their students.

National Board Certification helps recognize "effective" teachers, who have advanced in their profession. Kurt Landgraf, President and CEO of Educational Testing Service (ETS), states teachers must have "commitment to students and learning; knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy; management and monitoring of student learning; systematic thinking about classroom practice and learning from experience; and participation in learning communities". (Landgraf, K., 2009)

                A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.   

Accountability Measures

In 2002, former President Bush signed into law, an accountability Act to promote equal education for all called the "No Child Left Behind Act". (Wikipedia, 2009). Under this act, teachers and schools are being held to a higher standard when it comes to test scores. In order for schools to receive federal funding, students must show an improvement in their test scores. The ball is placed back in the court of the educators. Their effectiveness at teaching the required subjects to promote understanding and greater retention of knowledge to succeed on required tests is mandated at the federal, state, and local level.

In the news, President Obama is taking on the challenge of fixing the American education system by expanding on the "No Child Left Behind Act", called the "Federal School Turn-Around Program" (MMIX. The Associated Press, 2009). According to Associated Press education writer, Libby Quaid, "President Barack Obama intends to use $5 billion to prod local officials to close failing schools and reopen them with new teachers and principals". (Quaid, L. 2009). This sends a clear message to all teachers and schools, that they must improve or face the consequences of losing their jobs.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an organization that measures accountability in teachers. The NBPTS is an organization that measures what teachers should know in order to teach effectively, before becoming certified. It has been nationally recognized as one of the best organizations to answer the question of effective teachers.

Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, takes his message of education standards on the road when he speaks at a forum organized by the White House on June 9, 2009. He praises the NBPTS and proclaims, "We need a critical mass of National Board Certified Teachers. These are the best teachers who set a very high bar”. (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), 2008)

America's future walks through the doors of our schools every day.

Mary Jean LeTendre

Helping teachers become effective

Keeping this in mind, are teachers solely to blame or our school districts failing teachers by not providing adequate resources and environments to teach? The George Mason University in Virginia along with other school districts, developed a network called The New Science Teachers' Support Network, whose main goal is to "help uncertified science teachers succeed at teaching and remain in the profession." (Sterling, D. & Frazier, W., 2008, p. 1). After researching different aspects that teachers face, they found that part of the problem of retaining effective teachers is because the teachers do not get the support they need from the administration whether it is in resources, the classroom environment, or leeway for curriculum to be taught.

Evaluating an effective Teacher

How can we tell if a teacher is effective? Are there set standards that measure teacher effectiveness? Should we have a federally mandated set of standards that measure teacher effectiveness? Since the NCLB was introduced, many states have been scrambling to provide their interpretation of higher standards for education, proven records of teacher effectiveness as shown in test scores, and worthiness of federally funded monies to provide much-needed sources for their schools. However, how can we be sure that they are not inflating their competency in order to receive the compensation for improvement?

Kevin Carey argues that "requiring every state, district or school to approach professional development [for teachers] in the same way, makes little sense." (Carey, K. 2006) He basis his theory on the fact that our students are not a "one-size-fits-all" type of learners.

The New York Times released the statistics for the year in New York City's public schools and showed a big improvement in math. Mayor Michael Bloomberg "trumpeted the results as evidence that mayoral control had produced revolutionary improvements and brought city students within spitting distance of state averages after years of mediocrity." (Hernandez, J. 2009)

Concluding thoughts

We all have our own preconceived notions about what makes effective teaching, but it does not always coincide with what the federal government says we should be doing to promote learning with high standards. However, do we have a right to throw out creativity in favor of higher test scores? Everyone learns differently and at different rates. Do we want to have a future society of robotic humans? Do we want individuals who have been pushed throughout their school years to accelerate at the same speed and course? Or do we want to have a future of individuals that are in constant motion to learn new things and ways to accomplish them? That is the question we should be answering right now.


1. What is the Federal School Turn-Around Program?
a. A program created by the No Child Left Behind Act, to turn around failing school
b. A federally funded program to help "At Risk" children
c. A program created by Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education
d. A program created by the NCLB that helps children who walk to school

2. What is technology in schools?
a. A form of music played on computers
b. Computers, blogs, wikis, podcasts, and Nings
c. The name of a Biology chapter
d. A federally funded program in elementary schools

3. What is the New Science Teachers' Support Network?
a. An organization in Vermont that helps science teachers succeed and remain teachers
b. An organization in Virginia that helps science teachers in the classroom
c. An organization in Virginia that helps science teachers succeed and remain teachers
d. An organization in Virginia that helps math teachers succeed and remain teachers

4. How much money does President Obama want to use to make local officials close failing schools and reopen them?
a. $2 billion
b. $750, 000
c. "whatever it takes"
d. $5 billion

1. a
2. b
3. c
4. d


McLean, J. (2009). Professors incorporate new teaching methods. Kent News Net. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

Landgraf, K. (2009). ETS on the Issues: ‘What Makes an Effective Teacher?’ Educational Testing Service. Retrieved June 21, 2009 from <>

No Child Left Behind Act. (2009, June 1). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved, June 1, 2009, from <>

Associated Press, (2009). Obama Wants 5,000 Failing Schools Closed: Troubled Schools Would Reopen With New Principals And Teachers In Next 5 Years. CBS Evening News, Washington. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

Quaid, L. (2009). Obama wants to turn around 5,000 failing schools. The Associated Press. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2008. News and Media: Web Feature Releases. Retrieved June 21, 2009 form <>

Sterling, D. & Frazier, W., (2008). Supporting New Science Teachers: What School Leaders Can Do. Center for Restructuring Education in Science and Technology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, p. 1. Retrieved June 6, 2009 from <>

Carey, K. (2006). Evidence Suggests Otherwise. Hot Air: How States Inflate Their Educational Progress Under NCLB. Education Sector, Washington, D. C. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

Hernandez, J. (2009). New York City Shows Gains In Math. The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2009 from <>

Ashefeldt, F. (2009). Ambitions. Public Domain Pictures. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

Khurana, S. (2009). Mary Jean LeTendre: Education Quotes. Education Quotes: A Select Collection of Education Quotes. About.Com, New York Times, Company. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

Lewis, J. (2009). Henry B. Adams: Education Quotes. From Wisdom Quotes: Quotations to inspire and challenge. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from <>

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