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‘Why should I care?' It is hard to imagine that students in these classes are gaining the conceptual and problem-solving skills they need to function effectively as workers and citizens in today's world” (p. 21).

This scenario is contrasted with the following vision of high-quality teaching (p. 22):

  • High-quality teaching requires that teachers have a deep knowledge of subject matter.

  • The ability to teach, contrary to myth, is not “something you're born with”; it can be learned and refined over time…through training, mentoring, collaboration with peers, and practice.

  • The process of inquiry, not merely “giving instruction”, is the very heart of what teachers do.

  • A good science or mathematics teacher encourages students to try new possibilities, to venture possible explanations, and to follow them to their logical conclusions.

  • High quality teaching fosters healthy skepticism.

  • High quality teaching has the deepest respect for students as persons, and builds on strengths, rather than trying to stamp out weaknesses.

  • Teaching is grounded in a careful and thorough alignment of curriculum, assessment, and high standards for student learning.

  • Practice is continually reshaped by supportive institutional structures, such as professional development, continuing education, and the effective use of technology.

  • Effectiveness is evaluated by student performance and achievement.

Asking why high-quality teaching is not universal, the report makes the following observation:

For teachers to deliver high-quality teaching, they must be empowered to do so. Generating this kind of teaching means that school boards, administrators, parents, and policymakers must be willing to stand up for teachers as the primary drivers of student achievement. Teachers must be given the time they need within the school day to keep up with new developments in their fields, teaching aids, materials, and technology. Teachers must be encouraged to contribute knowledge back to their disciplines. They need the time and the feedback necessary to reflect on their teaching, so they can get better at it. Teacher empowerment also means according teachers the respect they deserve for their judgments about learning, rewarding their professionalism, and yes, paying them what they are worth. (p. 23)

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