Want to Improve Teaching ?


imagine trying to be an effective teacher at a school where the average student misses two months of class time out of nine months of the school year—a common situation in urban high schools. Further, imagine that your fellow teachers and school leaders refuse to work together to prevent students from skipping class or support struggling students in a coordinated way. You may stay, but probably not for long, and not if you have other options. Teachers tend to leave schools where they feel ineffective. At the same time, it’s harder to be effective in schools with the lowest levels of student performance, schools that are most in need of effective teaching. There is a pressing need to improve the quality of instruction in urban schools to reduce long-standing inequities in educational performance by race and economic status. The current policy context acknowledges the importance of teaching quality for student achievement, but the most popular policy strategies for improving teaching focus on individual teachers, using incentives to attract and reward strong teachers, and developing methods to identify and remove those who are weak. The work my colleagues and i have done at the consortium on chicago School research shows that the context in which teachers work sets the stage for them to be effective and want to stay in their school. it does little good to put highly qualified teachers in a weak school if they are unlikely to stay there, or if they are not able to put their skills to good use because of larger problems in that school environment. There is a role for examining individual teachers’ performance, and for using performance management to build the professional capacity of a school, but it is unlikely to be effective if it narrowly focuses on individual teachers. Without broader work on the school as an organization, schools serving the most disadvantaged students will face high rates of teacher turnover and little chance of sustained instructional improvement. in our study on teacher mobility in

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Allensworth2012WantTI, title={Want to Improve Teaching ?}, author={Elaine M. Allensworth}, year={2012} }