09 February 2011

Teacher productivity

There’s intense pressure on our schools to present good examination results and rightly so.
The expansion of our schools has not always been followed by plans for expansion of teacher training institutions or by changes in the way new teachers are prepared to deal with the new reality in schools.
Some factors that affect teacher productivity are directly linked to student productivity.
It is important to consider how we judge teachers in today's environment. Many see a good teacher as being someone who contributes positively to a students’ achievement. The value of this teacher contribution adds to a student’s school experience and allows them to achieve much more. Several studies have attributed this teacher ‘added value’ to an endowment in teacher intelligence, subject knowledge and teaching skills.
The relative importance of intelligence, subject knowledge, and teaching skills in determining teacher productivity has important implications for recruiting and preparing future teachers.
The role of intelligence seems to suggest that policies designed to reduce entry barriers and encourage the brightest into teaching could boost student achievement.
Many people don’t want to become teachers due to the ever increasing demands placed on teachers beyond the initial task of teaching. For example, teachers are increasingly involved with parents and non-teacher related issues. Something must be done to remove some of these barriers, and attract some of our best students into teaching.
Educational authorities keep track of teacher productivity through the head teacher evaluations. Retention and tenure decisions are often heavily influenced by what the head teacher thinks about a particular teacher.
It is interesting to note that even with a glowing report from the head teacher, some teachers do not do well in certain environments. Deploying a good teacher to a new school in a different region of the country to help boost student achievement may have disappointing results. There is an expectation that a good teacher will remain productive when moved to a new school. This is not always true as many teachers benefit from high student achievement due to socio-economic conditions in the school and other reasons. Teachers in schools which recruit some of the most successful candidates after primary school will obviously face less of a challenge than teachers in remote rural areas.

So what makes a good teacher? What do you think? Hit the comment button and contribute!

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