Jun 26, 2009

creating great teachers

I'm still hung over from all the beautiful music of the PS 22 Chorus. And completely in awe of Mr. B.

The world needs more people like Mr. B. Every child deserves a teacher like that to help him find his own voice and something to be passionate about - in whatever shape, form or size that may be.

I have had a few. Mrs. Woelhaf, who jump-started my love for learning. Mr. Kennedy, who helped me understand angles from a whole other angle. Gie, who made all those nights working on my plates actually seem like fun. Thank you. You each made a world of difference in my own little world.

Bill Gates, in a talk over at the at the TED conference asks and answers the question: "How do we make great teachers?" And you know we need them. Badly. Here are the highlights in his own words:

So, how do you make education better?

We've worked on small schools, we've funded scholarships, we've done things in libraries. A lot of these things had a good effect. But the more we looked at it, the more we realized that having great teachers was the very key thing.

What are the characteristics of this top quartile? What do they look like? You might think these must be very senior teachers. And the answer is no.

You might think these are people with master's degrees. They've gone back and they've gotten their Master's of Education. This chart takes four different factors and says how much do they explain teaching quality. That bottom thing, which says there's no effect at all, is a master's degree.

Here is his talk:

As he says, "Education is THE most important thing to get right". He got that right.

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