Teacher quality

I agree with the claim below that teacher quality is the key to good learning but I doubt that more teacher training would enhance that.  From what students tell me, teacher training courses are so dumb and boring that many students drop out and do something else -- with mainly the dummies left.

The enthusiasm of the teacher is the key in my view.  My High School economics students did well in their exams because economics is a great enthusiasm of mine and I taught it with many indications of its relevance and importance. And I taught without one minute of teacher training behind me.

As to the poor pay of American teachers, that too can be attributed to quality. Many American classrooms are so chaotic that teachers are little more than childminders, with some students graduating high school barely able to read and write.  So such teachers are poorly paid and that drags the average remuneration down

And the idea that better teachers can be had by raising the bar for them to qualify is a laugh.  The opposite is going on.  In order to get people into their teacher training schools, they are LOWERING the bar.  Almost anyone can now enter teacher training, even people with poor literacy and numeracy levels.  Teaching in many of today's chaotic schools is so unattractive that is in the main only the desperates who will take it on.

But bringing back effective discipline would change everything

According to the report, Education at a Glance 2017, US teachers, on average, earn less than 60% of the salaries of similarly-educated workers. They have among the lowest relative earnings across all OECD countries with data. This is what teachers’ salaries, relative to that of other college-educated adults looks like in 24 of the OECD’s 35 countries:

There is ample evidence that the quality of teachers is the key ingredient to raising educational standards—more than money spent, or class size, or what curriculum is best designed. Pay doesn’t dictate quality, but it certainly influences it.

John Hattie of the University of Melbourne has examined more than 65,000 research papers (1200 meta-analyses) on the effects of hundreds of different educational interventions. He discovered that things we think matter a lot—class size and streaming by ability—don’t matter nearly as much as the quality of a teacher. According to the Economist, “All of the 20 most powerful ways to improve school-time learning identified by the study depended on what a teacher did in the classroom.”

Money and prestige matter. The highest performing education systems always prioritize the quality of teachers says Andreas Schliecher, head of the education directorate at the OECD. “Wherever they have to make a choice between a smaller class and a better teacher, they go for the latter. Rather than putting money into small classes, they invest in competitive teacher salaries, ongoing professional development and a balance in working time.”

US teachers spend 38% more time in front of the classroom than their international peers: 981 hours compared to an OECD average of 712 per year. This is time that they are not collaborating with peers, honing their knowledge of their subject or the practice of teaching.

Two top-performing education systems in the world are Finland and Singapore offer insight on the importance of teachers. They are markedly different: in Finland, kids start school later, around 7, they don’t have too much homework, there is little high-stakes testing. In Singapore, expectations are high, kids are tested frequently, and pressure is intense.

Both systems have one thing in common: Teaching institutions are highly selective, teachers are highly-trained, and they are trusted. They are given time to work with other teachers and administrators to solve problems, in the classroom, with the curriculum, and with parents.


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