Freakonomics Radio did an episode that asks the question: Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem?
When I first saw the episode title I must admit my first intuition was to get a little upset, but when I calmed down and listened to the show I found it very interesting. Freakonomics is known for applying economic research and principals to things that we do not typically look at as an economic problem. I found that as I listened I learned a few things and I really agreed with many of the things discussed.
One example of an area we discussed that I agree with, is the question of teacher training. It stated that we spend far to much time on theory rather than practice. Yes, thats true. Teaching methodology has not been advancing with the new technologies as fast as it should. There is no question that teacher training needs improvement.
It is clear that teachers are not the only influence on students success. It is also clear that outstanding teachers have a significant impact on student performance. I believe that there needs to be a change in our performance. Many teachers including myself can look at a bad year of testing and put the blame about everywhere but on ourselves. The fact is however, until we as individuals accept some responsibility the chance of us changing and improving are minimal.
Overall this was a very fair look at the situation, and is well worth a listen. If we listen with an open mind there are a lot of great things to learn. They will continue with this weeks podcast looking at an educational program called Pathways to Learning. I look forward to it.