The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) recently released a study, The Road Less Travelled, How Developmental Science Can Prepare Educator to Improve Student Achievement: Policy Recommendations.
Most of this report is a justification and call for states and the federal government to use NCATE to accredit schools of education and providers of professional development. Buried in the report are some nuggets on excellence in teaching.
The emphasis of NCLB over the past 8 years, ESEA currently, and the Common Core standards is on student achievement: determining standards on assessing students based on those standards.
Data shows that teacher performance is the single most important school influence in improving student outcomes. The teachers who best influence student achievement:
- Know their children as individuals, which may be even more important than knowing the content being taught, and makes students feel acknowledged and respected.
- Provide an emotional foundation for learning for their students. As emotion affects cognition, students who feel safe and excited in the classroom are more motivated to learn.
- Organize and manage their classrooms to be efficient learning environments. Students who are comfortable with classroom roles that are congruent with learning are better able to focus on the tasks of learning.
In fact, these findings correspond to other studies which indicate that professional development and teacher training that focus on good teaching techniques have a more profound influence on student success than those that focus primarily on specific content areas.
When we all talk about teacher competence, let’s concentrate on making sure teachers have the knowledge, skills, and resources to know their children, provide appropriate emotional support when needed, and organize and manage their classrooms efficiently.