Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to Help our Teachers

There are teachers who need help in teaching and disciplining students, and a few others who are not sufficiently grounded in the subjects they teach. How can we identify and train these teachers?

The Problem: There are a few teachers who do not know the material they are supposed to be teaching. There are others who need help with their teaching skills, or have difficulty maintaining order in their classrooms.

The ‘do not know the material‘ problem is, we believe, the least important. -- the majority of teachers are very well-qualified. However, this problem does exist. For example, we know of a sixth-grade teacher in a local school who doesn’t know the multiplication tables. And we’ve seen notices containing misspelled words posted on school bulletin boards.

The teaching skills and maintenance of order problems have to do with communications -- see the ‘new ideas page.

To solve this problem we must:

* Carefully evaluate existing teachers, perhaps by requiring that they take tests (though principals are likely to know which teachers need help.) Incoming new hires must also take such tests.
* Provide remedial classes to help troubled teachers improve their teaching skills, handle discipline, and acquire knowledge of materials. Teachers who fail even after taking the classes cannot be retained.

It will take money to set up and administer the tests, and to create the remedial classes. However, except for testing new-hires, this will be a one-time cost.

Action hoped-for from the reader.

We’d be delighted to hear from anyone who has a comment on the teacher problem. To comment, just click the underlined word ‘comments’ at the bottom of this page (or any of the other pages), and tell us what you think. We’d be glad to hear from anyone. You might like to tell us:

Why we’re wrong about the problem discussed above, or what additional problems exist that we‘ve ignored or overlooked.

What you think should be done to improve schools.

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