Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 4 seconds
I am not joking with this title
I just finished reading an article “Are Good Teachers Born or Made?” about teacher education. The article repeatedly privileges intuition over (conflicting and confusing) research results on the impact of professional development in teacher education. The article is only available for free for a week starting yday.
Obviously part of the reason the author keeps skipping research in this area is that it is confusing and limited and then generalized incorrectly.
But see this:
We didn’t need research to tell us that teachers are a precious resource, and we should invest in them if we value our children’s well-being. Their ability to perform well consistent with any definition of good teaching, their ability to communicate effectively with children—to inform them, to set an example for them, to promote their self-esteem, to facilitate their cognitive and personal development—make an incalculable difference to individuals, families, and society.
And just as clearly, putting research aside, there remains much for them to learn once they become teachers. Some of what they need they will acquire on their own, especially if they have been coached in reflective practice. Many other skills they can master with the help of colleagues, school leaders, and other purveyors of professional development
Hello. And this
Lest we lose our way in an effort to sort through contradictory and misleading research results, we can follow our intuition and common sense by affirming the positive
role professional development has to play in helping teachers become increasingly successful. A small percentage of teachers may be born to the classroom, but most of us learn how to teach well over time, and more differentiated support often translates into better outcomes for teacher performance and student learning.
for good teachers to be born, we will be wai
ting a long time. If we strengthen our system for making teachers by choosing them carefully, educating them well and generously providing the ongoing support for development their success requires, we might see positive change in our lifetimes.
The larger question for me now is the more prevalent privileging of research over intuition of practitioners and what it means for teachers. Because research will always be limited by scope and approach and viewpoint and frameworks and context and all that. I am of course not saying we should ignore research #ILoveResearch… I am questioning what it means when research results go against intuition of practitioners.
Not a new topic?