Monday, February 7, 2011

Bad vs. Good

"Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford, estimates that the students of a very bad teacher will learn, on average, half a year's worth of material in one school year. The students in the class of a very good teacher will learn a year and a half's worth of material. The difference amount to a year's worth of  learning in a single year. Teacher effects dwarf school affects; your child is actually better off in a bad school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher." ~Malcolm Gladwell in What the Dog Saw.

Do you agree/ disagree?
What do you do to become a better teacher?


Kash said...

I don't know if, on average, students in a good teacher's class will truly learn a year and a half's worth of material. I do wonder if, instead, they learn what should have been learned under previous bad teachers, as well as that year's material. I'm not sure that there are many schools that have 100% excellent teachers, you know? Statistically speaking, most kids are going to get at best an even mix of good & bad teachers over the years.

I do think being a good teacher can be important, but I struggle with how much importance it does have. Yes, I'm confident in my math skills–does that truly impact how my five year old learns math? I'm not sure. I do think my enthusiasm and appreciation for learning are important. I do think that not dismissing questions as unimportant or a waste of time is important. I'm just not sure, in a homeschool setting, if there's an important distinction between that which I teach more directly, and that which my children are self-teaching, especially at older ages and in objective (versus subjective) areas.

Deanna said...

I would agree.
I am at my worst when unprepared. As much effort and discipline as it takes, I HAVE to be on top of everything they are doing. When I fall behind and become unfamiliar with their subject matter, they know it. It makes for a very stressful time.
Homeschooling isn't for the faint of heart.

LaughingLioness said...

Thanks for your input! I've been thinking about teacher training, and what that reallly means for the homeschooling community for several weeks. Lots of thoughts!

Annie said...

I gave a lot of thought to that last summer when I took a class from what turned out to be a very bad teacher. I think learning is more "caught" than "taught." As Kash said, enthusiasm and appreciation for learning are important. And caring about the student, and the student's education should be priorities (and usually are in homeschool, but not necessarily in public school). This particular teacher seemed to be waiting for her students to make mistakes so she could triumphantly pounce on them and hold them up to ridicule. And this was on the college level! In a class for teachers! Well I learned a lot about how I DO NOT want to teach!
Anna Belle