OPENING REFLECTION What are the characteristics of quality teaching, specifically in urban schools? Why?
AS YOU WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEO, CONSIDER: How does this video affirm, contradict, or complicate your thoughts about the characteristics of effective teaching in urban schools? How does this video affirm, contradict, or complicate the readings we have done—both for today and for previous classes—about effective teaching in urban schools? North Star Academy Middle School 5th Grade Words of Inspiration and Oral Drill
TODAY’S FRAMING QUESTIONS How does teacher quality in urban district schools compare to teacher quality in other settings (suburban, rural, charter, parochial)? What does teacher quality even mean, and how does one measure it? Assuming it can be measured, should low teacher quality in urban schools be addressed by changing who teachers, or how they learn to teach, or by making schooling teacher proof? How do institutions such as unions, charters, education schools and district bureaucracies promote or impede the recruitment, training, and retention of high-quality teachers in urban areas?
DIGGING INTO OUR READINGS For your assigned text: What does teacher quality mean, and how does this author suggest we measure it? Given this approach to measurement, how does teacher quality in urban districts compare to teacher quality in other settings? What are the biggest impediments to improving teacher quality in urban schools? What are the highest-leverage opportunities for improving teacher quality in urban schools?
What does teacher [teaching] quality mean, and how does this author suggest we measure it? It means the actions of the teachers, and the outputs that result, not the inputs, nor the characteristics of the person. (It’s the characteristics of the action: teaching, not teachers)—Heather Hill Quality needs to be measured by more than standardized test scores. Also need to include student engagement, student retention (not dropping out), connection to and relationships with students Goldstein, JDA: How a teacher interacts with students as humans (physically, emotionally) matters. Right now high quality teaching requires extraordinary people. It shouldn’t, but at the moment it does. Goldstein: Teaching should have replicable, testable, scalable practices. Need to have contextualized transfer, pillars of actions of good teaching. Should not have to reinvent the wheel the whole time. Goldstein: Important to think about prioritization of action and effort. Payne: Disconnect between complexity of practices, layering of initiatives, and the simple notions of what teachers are supposed to be doing. Payne: Hard to define the roles of a teacher, especially in urban systems. Is “going beyond” the measure of teacher quality, or should urban teachers in fact fulfill fewer roles better? JDA: From my own class, students prioritize transferability of knowledge and purpose. Payne: Need to think about teacher-teacher relationships, collaboration w/other adults, receptiveness to new ideas. Not all about the teacher-student relationship. Payne: What it means to be a good urban teacher is not all about the actions of the teacher him/herself. A lot of it is in the context of the school: the political construction of urban schools influences the construction of effective urban teaching. The job of teaching may vary depending on how we’ve organized schools. When we select urban teachers, we need to select for the job description of urban teaching, rather than just teaching in general. Good teachers help students learn—questionable whether this is captured by test scores.
Impediments Payne: Many political impediments. See last paragraph. No single high-value levers—and looking for one is counter-productive. Institutional impediments to change: unions, local gov’t, federal gov’t, antiquated school practices Goldstein: Difficulty of conducting high-quality research: cost, skepticism, culture of nice Payne: Teacher skepticism of outsiders, non- teachers Hill: Principal observation often low-quality, filling out checklist, lack of knowledge Hill: observation instruments low quality, not aligned with characteristics of good teaching E-lecture: Teaching is not an attractive profession to a diverse, well-educated, and capable group Payne, e-lecture, JDA: Focus and reliance on superhero teacher—this is a bar that cannot be overcome at scale E-lecture: Education schools—problem with connecting theory and practice, recruiting high-quality candidates, not held accountable Focus on teachers as the leverage point. If system is failing, why blame primarily the front- line workers? Hard to collaborate with difficult or ineffective colleagues, including non-teaching staff (nurse, counselor, etc.) Opportunities Payne: Multiple approaches simultaneously. Consistency, intensity, sustainability. Goldstein: Research in education sector through universities (randomized, controlled trials in classroom context of teacher moves) Hill: Observations by trained outsiders Hill: Create observation instruments that are reliable and valid and aligned Hill: Align PD w/better observation instruments Goldstein (and hence overcoming Payne impediment): Teacher researchers, and true teacher-research collaboration, can overcome skepticism and create useable knowledge We spend ½ trillion $ per year on education; money doesn’t need to be found, just reallocated toward R&D E-lecture: Some unions heading new observation and evaluation practices Wide variety of innovations in teacher recruitment and preparation routes Potential for collaboration expands impact from individual to collective
ADD THIS VIDEO TO YOUR DISCUSSION Consider the perspective of the author you’ve focused on as you answer the following questions: How do these teachers exemplify characteristics of effective educators in urban settings? What teacher moves/relational aspects do you notice? How does this instruction match with your definition of teacher quality? Tucson High School Magical Realism Ethnic Studies Lesson
DEBRIEF What made this hard or easy? What were the topics over which you had disagreements? How confident are you that the ideas you came up with will make a difference at IMHS?
ADD THESE PERSPECTIVES TO YOUR THINKING As you watch these videos, consider: How do these teachers exemplify characteristics of effective educators in urban settings? What teacher moves/relational aspects do you notice? How does this instruction match with your definition of teacher quality? Kindergarten-led Parent Conference -- Expeditionary Learning School Kansas CityKindergarten-led Parent Conference -- Expeditionary Learning School Kansas City Small group meetings in Martha Andrews' 5th grade class in the Bronx
CLOSING Reminder The final exam is now posted on the iSite. Please read over it so that we can answer questions in class tomorrow.
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