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"Building A Better Teacher" Author Reflects on Recent Gallup Poll

"Building A Better Teacher" Author Reflects on Recent Gallup Poll

What does a good teacher look like and does teacher prep need to change?

A recent PDK/Gallup Poll looks at these issues, and finds that six out of 10 Americans wish to raise the standards and make teacher preparation "more rigorous," according to the report. The poll also found that 61 percent of Americans opposed using student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, and that 64 percent of Americans trust their teachers. 

The results of the poll are based on a telephone study completed by 1,001 adults, and discovered Americans' views on how to evaluate a teachers' performance in the classroom. More than 70 percent of Americans said, "new teachers should spend at least a year practice teaching under the guidance of a certified teacher before assuming responsibility for their own classrooms." 

The poll also found that more than 80 percent of Americans said teachers "should pass board certification in addition to being licensed to practice, simliar to professions like medicine and law."

The PDK/Gallup Poll was discussed during a PBS Newshour segment with Elizabeth Green, author of "Building a Better Teacher." In regards to the poll, Green said that teaching "is a skill, and it requires a lot of craft, knowledge, and specialized ability that goes beyond just knowing a subject really well."

"Teachers definitely do not enter the classroom feeling that they’re prepared, she said. "Most teachers will tell you that their teacher training institution didn’t leave them feeling prepared. And then they do know that they don’t have the time and support they need to learn to teach."

PBS's Jeffrey Brown asked if the education system needs to make it harder to be a teacher. Green said there has "been a lot of focus on raising that bar before."

"But we have 3.7 million teachers in this country, so that alone cannot be enough," she said. "And, in fact, the programs that only focused on recruiting Ivy League students into the classroom, like Teach for America, have really learned that they need to focus on training, too. It’s not enough just to be really bright. You have to learn how students think. You have to learn how to teach them. And that’s different than being good in school yourself."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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