Measures to Improve Schools
In the op-ed piece “Our schools must Do Better” Herbert brilliantly states that teacher quality and/or effectiveness is not adequately gauged by certification. Indeed, Herbert was onto something when he said “teacher certification has very little to do with whatever it is that makes good teachers effective”. While this idea is vaguely explored by Herbert, it has promising grounds, which could yield significant results in improving schools. The concern, however, should firstly be directed to improving teacher effectiveness which gradually will translate into student success in classrooms. After all, learning is more arduous without competent educators, mitigating the challenge of comprehending. Chiefly, effective learning is not the result of teaching certification but of mutual feedback between teacher and student. In order to achieve an influx of learning in classrooms across the US we must meticulously examine what best stimulates comprehension. Teachers should not be held solely accountable for classroom success just as students should not be held solely accountable for learning. It is only the equilibrium of the two that can usher in an educational reform that achieves satisfactory student performance. In the long run, one can give horse water but that in no way ensures it will drink it. Similarly, teachers can pour their soul into instructional time, but if students only passively listen, their efforts are in vain. Nevertheless, this priceless commodity of “water” and/or learning should be served on the educational platter every school day; regardless if students digest it or not. With this in mind, it is only a matter of waiting for the “horse” to drink and invigorate itself. Public school systems will undoubtedly flourish if more demand is placed on the student to actively engage in class and not just passively participate. Some measures that can help bring this reform to fruition are: increased teacher quality, hands-on curriculums, and “blended learning”. Contrary to popular belief, learning is not linear; as such students should not be expected to learn the same way. This is why personalized learning is more plausibly the remedy for this dilemma. Now, teachers should go the extra mile to assess the methods that best help their students comprehend as oppose to clinging to a linearized curriculum. Meaning, the facilitation of learning relationships, is what ultimately achieves the best results. The following paragraphs will chart the path into more effective learning and/or mentoring.
According to Garrison, blended learning will help achieve extraordinary results in the field of student success. This hybrid method of learning is the integration of “face-to-face learning experiences with online experiences”. As society becomes both more increasingly globalized and technologically advanced as noted by Herbert and Garrison, hybrid learning appears to be the feasible learning alternative. More precisely, supplemental off class learning will not only optimize the intuitive potential of students across the border but also help them assimilate into the unfolding market of technology. Unknowingly, my sophomore year in High School came to be the year I underwent the most significant learning spike. This improvement was made possible by the integration of blended learning at my school. Online learning’s strength lies in its versatility. Moreover, online learning can be both the primary and secondary means of bolstering wisdom. That same year I was bestowed the honor of “student of the year”. Substantiating the potency of “blended learning”
On a lighter but related note, improving teacher quality can also be the catalyst needed for sparking an educational revolution. Teachers are the backbone of all learning institutions as such should be well equipped and/or trained. Student achievement is highly contingent on teaching efficacy. Thus, it follows that educators best stimulate students. Low performing students are often pre cursor to poor teaching. Studies conducted by Hammond show “students appear to perform least well in the fields in which U.S. teachers are least well prepared”, adding, “states that repeatedly lead the nation in student achievement in mathematics and reading have among the most highly qualified teachers in the country”. This was possible by elevating the standards of people entering the teaching profession. Therefore, higher demand should be placed on teacher certification in order to guarantee a boom in student achievement. Similar or better results can be obtained if teaching requirements are intensified. However, raising the bar for teachers, will not necessarily impact students positively. Meaning, students have a part to fulfill as well.
An eclipse of learning will only hold firm in our nation if it’s supplemented by student interest. Thus, instructors should go the extra mile in showing their students the interconnection between the world and their studies. Too often times have instructors shrugged off curious students questioning the relevance of their studies by saying ‘it will benefit you’. In whatever light you look at it, students have the right to know the practicality of their studies. In fact, if students were shown the versatility of education and its larger application on their lives, they would more passionately pursue academic excellence. In other words, probing students to continue to higher education will no longer be necessary in motivating students because they’ll see the overarching benefits of education; stemming beyond the classroom. A lot of students who moved onto higher education were simply told ‘go to college’ and not shown what exactly it is that college helps one achieve other than a “better” job. Chiefly, it is the unison of student interest and supplemental teaching instructions that will yield the riches result in student success. This involves the effective interaction of sender and receiver—teacher and student.
Conclusively, effective learning stems beyond teacher and student responsibility, and meets right in the middle of the two. In other words, learning is best facilitated with the full cooperation of both teacher and student, staunchly working in unison.
Herbert, Bob. "OP-ED COLUMNIST; Our Schools Must Do Better." The New York Times, 02 Oct. 2007. Web.
Garrison, Randy D. The Internet and Higher Education. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Alberta: University of Calgary, 2004. Web. Hammond, Linda. Teacher Quality and Student Achievement. University of Washington, 1999. Print.