Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More on Student Learning

So, I continue to think about how do schools focus spending on improving student learning. I was, perhaps, a bit flippant in my last posting, suggesting that spending money on pencils may be considered spending on student learning. The truth is that there exists a significant number of studies that could suggest what has the greater impact on student learning, providing a focus for the spending. Dr. Marzano's book, Classroom Instruction that Works, is an example of how research supports the effectiveness of specific teaching strategies. (The link I've provided takes you to Dr. Marzano's Web site. If you google the title of the book, you can find lots of links where schools are implementing the strategies.)

Research exists that emphasizes that it is the teacher who has the greatest impact on improving student learning. President Obama mentions this in his book, The Audacity of Hope, and we can only hope that legislation and funding will somehow support this. However, it is important for us to recognize that not all teachers are having the most positive impact. Indeed, some teachers are doing as much harm as good. Still, I believe that the two thoughts that I am tossing out in this blog are pointing toward what we should focus on with regard to spending money on student learning: ensure that teachers are excellent teachers and provide these teachers with training and support in implementing strategies that are supported by research.

More to come...

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