The role of a teacher in determining an institution’s academy quality, a student’s personal drive, or a classroom’s collective success is unequivocal. Teachers are arguably the most important factor in shaping a student’s education and school experience.
One study that has been instrumental in proving the correlation between teacher effectiveness and student achievement was conducted by Dr. William Sanders, an American statistician, who is known for developing the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). He and his colleagues studied a group of teachers and students over the course of many years and looked at what happened to students whose teachers produced high achievement results versus those whose teachers produced low achievement results. His study revealed that when children in the third grade were assigned to different high-performing teachers for three consecutive years, they scored on average in the 96th percentile on Tennessee’s statewide mathematics assessment at the end of grade five. When the children from the other group with comparable achievement histories were placed with three low-performing teachers in a row, their average score on the same mathematics assessment was in the 44th percentile. Because the study’s children had been assessed beforehand to have comparable skills and intelligence, this led Sanders and his research team to conclude that the identifying variable was the different quality of the teachers. It is hard to argue with a massive 52-point differential!
So what does this have to do with St. Jude’s Academy? Aside from recognizing the importance effective teaching has on our students’ success, St. Jude’s requires all of our teachers to undergo additional professional certification because we are an IB World school. Our educators must become IB certified in order to teach, and this works to ensure that students will receive a high level of effective and attentive teaching. The qualities of effective teachers include:
- undergoing continuous professional development
- possessing additional certification
- holding high expectations for themselves and their students
- understanding students’ struggles and knowing how to reiterate difficult concepts in a meaningful way
- being passionate about their lesson material
- demonstrating genuine concern, interest, and personal investment in their students’ academic success
I leave you with this powerful quote:
“That’s what education should be,” I said, “the art of orientation. Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of turning minds around. It shouldn’t be the art of implanting sight in the organ, but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn’t facing the right way.” —Plato, The Republic