"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Friday, April 18, 2014

Engagement of Teachers: Key to School Improvement

Both in reading and math, teachers serve the important role of measuring the pulse of their students. Effective teachers are those who could navigate various ways to reach children. Experience, which enables a balance between order and innovation, plus mastery of the subject provides the necessary tools for teachers to discover and develop various approaches to help students learn. However, even with the best tools and resources, even with the best talent, teachers can only be good if they are strongly motivated. Motivation happens if teachers take ownership of their work. Motivation unfortunately does not work when teachers are treated as robots. And here is the bad news: According to a Gallup survey, "Teachers are dead last among the occupational groups Gallup surveyed in terms of their likelihood to say their opinions seem to count at work." In the United States, teachers in K-12 are among the highest to express satisfaction with their lives overall (second only to physicians). Thus, it is troubling that with regard to work, teachers are not as engaged:

Above image captured from Gallup's report, State of America's Schools, The Path to Winning Again in Education
The Gallup report offers some advice:


The first advice is especially striking. It goes to the heart of how we really view teachers. It is truly the first question we need to ask before we even start dreaming up schemes on how to improve basic education. If we skip this one, we are missing a very important point. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of failed education reforms. This is the strongest objection against the Philippines' education reform. Teachers do not have a voice. When teachers are disengaged, it is highly unlikely that students will be engaged. And with a lack of engagement, learning hardly occurs....

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