What impacts student learning most is not a new conversation here in the USA (or in the world for that matter). It's been hotly debated for quite some time.
What impacts student learning most?
Learning must be measured by tests.
Or, wait, tests hinder learning.
How does technology impact learning?
Standards-based, flipped classroom, project-based, problem-based, student centered, backwards planning, flexible seating...
Wow - so many things. So many ways to impact student learning.
How in the world do we know what strategies impact students the most?
That's just it... there is no ONE strategy that will impact student learning more than another.
... there is one person.
If you're reading this post, this is probably no surprise to you that teachers are the number one influencer in a student's learning.
But I don't want to just say that and claim it as truth. I want you to see for yourself.
Economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia conducted a huge study, and as this article states, found "the long-term impact of teachers based on their 'value-added' ratings."
More evidence of a teacher's long-term impact, meaning his/her impact lasting for more than just the school year students are in his/her room can be found here. Teachers don't just impact students while they sit in his/her classroom - they impact the trajectory of a students academic career.
Heck, even you believing you have an impact on students matters! That's right, research shows that if you believe you will have an impact, meaning to your core know that you've got this in the bag and your students are going to get it this year, then they are more likely to show more success than students with teachers who don't believe that.
This means that you, YOU reading this article, YOU who will have anywhere between 30 and 170 new students starting in August (or September you lucky dog), YOU who are making plans to revamp or somehow improve your classroom, YOU who is working through some sort of professional development whether that be a class, a masters, or just reading a book on pedagogy, YOU are number ONE when it comes to impacting your students.
Not that class you're taking. Not the master's you're working your butt off for. Not that new strategy, not even that book you're reading.
It's YOU taking that class. It's YOU earning that master's. It's YOU learning that new strategy or reading that book, and YOU believing that you have power to influence your students. It's YOU knowing your content. It's YOU knowing your students. It's YOU having the confidence to step into the roll as the number one influence on your students' learning.
So how do we improve education and make sure we are developing our students to compete in this world and enter that world as well-rounded adults???
We invest in teachers being able to focus on their students. We invest in developing teachers to step into that role as the number one influence on student learning.
And that right there is my mission.
The role as number one is not easy. There's a ton of pressure just in that persona, let alone when the government piles on expectations, evaluations, and tests.
My mission is to empower teachers to step in to that role as the number one influence on student learning in ways that keeps them there for more than a few years. In ways that allows them to focus on just that role and nothing else.
When teachers are given new courses to create or teach, it takes away from their ability to fulfill their role as number one, from their ability to focus on their students. That doesn't mean we can't give teachers new preps, but it certainly doesn't mean we have to invest in some big textbook company to tell us what we should teach - no! We find other teachers who can support those with new preps, bring them up alongside them.
When teachers have to focus on teaching AND developing the curriculum they teach, it takes away from their ability to fulfill their role as number one. That doesn't mean a teacher can't develop their own stuff, but to keep teachers in this business for the long haul in healthy, balanced ways, we've got to take something off of their plate.
This is my mission. I want to support you. I want to empower you to fulfill your role as the number one influence on student learning.
If I can help you confidently step into the role as the number one influence on your students' learning, please subscribe to my emails. I won't bombard you with emails, but I will bring value to your teaching in ways that empower YOU and in ways that allows you to focus on what matters most... building up your students.
Until next time,