Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone)

Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone)

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0393351084

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"A must-read book for every American teacher and taxpayer." ―Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World

Launched with a hugely popular New York Times Magazine cover story, Building a Better Teacher sparked a national conversation about teacher quality and established Elizabeth Green as a leading voice in education. Green's fascinating and accessible narrative dispels the common myth of the "natural-born teacher" and introduces maverick educators exploring the science behind their art. Her dramatic account reveals that great teaching is not magic, but a skill―a skill that can be taught. Now with a new afterword that offers a guide on how to identify―and support―great teachers, this provocative and hopeful book "should be part of every new teacher’s education" (Washington Post).
















a student with a top-rated teacher, they found, and she scored an average of 5 percentile points higher than a similar student assigned to a middle-rated teacher. Put her with a bottom-rated teacher, and her scores fell an equal amount in the opposite direction. Kane and Staiger ran a few calculations, and the results astonished them. The size of the achievement gap between black and white students, they knew, was about 34 percentile points. “Therefore,” they estimated, “if the effects were to

What they dispute is how to enact the change. One argument—Obama’s—prescribes improvement by way of accountability. The problem with American education, this line of thinking goes, is that we have for too long treated all teachers the same: they get the same pay raises, the same evaluations, and the same job protections whether they inspire their students like Robin Williams or stultify them like Ben Stein. But the fact is that some teachers are good and some are bad. Some help children learn

captured a commitment to craftsmanship that was already at the heart of the country’s most prized traditions, from the careful lifelong study of the sushi chef, who spent decades mastering the particular flip of the hand required to make a perfect rice pillow, to the slow and steady apprenticeships in kabuki theater, where students spent decades mastering the special poses. Akihiko’s colleague Toshiakira Fujii used the analogy of his own pastime, kendo. A person could spend a lifetime slowly

young people into classrooms with just five weeks’ summer training. Brand-name diplomas and high hopes, these critics said, could hardly make up for a lack of training and experience. Indeed, even the most optimistic researchers found that corps members had an uneven impact on students’ learning. Studies found positive effects on students’ math achievement—the equivalent of about a month of extra instruction, by one estimate; more than two and a half, by another. But when it came to reading, the

that.” She went on, “The goal that all students by some year, whether it’s 2000 or 2061 or whatever year you want to pick, are going to be able to do this thing that most Americans have no sense of right now, let alone many teachers, seems like a rather ambitious goal.” She was not saying that the country shouldn’t try. She was simply drawing the obvious conclusion. Change—real change—would require a lot of learning, a lot of support, and a lot of time. But instead of embracing these

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