Archive for April 19, 2011
Wow. This blog post from Linda Darling-Hammond really paints an amazing picture. Could you imagine doing this in the United States? Can you imagine how much higher-quality our education would be, if we developed and paid teachers like we do doctors (which is how I read the below)? Imagine telling future high school CS teachers that they have to get the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in CS to teach before starting their teaching preparation — but they’ll be paid as well as a CS undergraduate entering industry. That could make a difference! It’s certainly an issue for our Operation: Reboot teachers, to have the same skills that they had as IT workers, but now receiving a teacher’s salary.
The contrasts to the American attitude toward teachers and teaching could not have been more stark. Officials from countries like Finland and Singapore described how they have built a high-performing teaching profession by enabling all of their teachers to enter high-quality preparation programs, generally at the masters’ degree level, where they receive a salary while they prepare. There they learn research-based teaching strategies and train with experts in model schools attached to their universities. They enter a well-paid profession – in Singapore earning as much as beginning doctors — where they are supported by mentor teachers and have 15 or more hours a week to work and learn together – engaging in shared planning, action research, lesson study, and observations in each other’s classrooms. And they work in schools that are equitably funded and well-resourced with the latest technology and materials.
In Singapore, based on their talents and interests, many teachers are encouraged to pursue career ladders to become master teachers, curriculum specialists, and principals, expanding their opportunities and their earnings with still more training paid for by the government. Teacher union members in these countries talked about how they work closely with their governments to further enrich teachers’ and school leaders’ learning opportunities and to strengthen their skills.