Monday, November 12, 2012

Master Teachers Supporting Educators in Underperforming Schools Truly Make a Big Difference

How can underperforming schools reverse the downward trend in the academic performance of their students?  This is no easy question to answer, but there is one approach which offers potential--the use of master teachers and outstanding administrators guiding teachers with solid support all along the way.  This unique team provides weekly guidance and mentorship in all areas of school life from lesson planning to creating a more positive school culture offering hope to students succeed in life through the acquisition of solid academic skills which will lead to college/university and a job. MASTER TEACHERS

Here in the United States, there are similar programs which have surfaced in the last few years.  President Obama's Race to the Top program goal is one of re-inventing education as it were.  The bottom line is to reverse the rising failure/drop out rate of both language minority students (English language learners) and those from low socio-economic status backgrounds.   To reach this goal, some districts are taking a new look at what kind of learning occurs in classrooms.  More accountability is called for on the part of both the students and the teachers.  Peer coaching has surfaced as one tool that has met the challenge and inspired some teachers to re-evaluate how they deliver instruction in the class.  Peer coaches are teachers with a track record of success and are respected/liked by their peers.  The changes being asked for such are as simple as making sure students understand the learning objective for example or conducting more frequent checks-for-understanding with random call-ons to hold all students accountable for paying attention and fully participating in the learning process are beginning to yield results.  Peer coaches can also model lesson delivery for those teachers who can't quite "see" how the needed changes the coach calls for would look like in his/her class.  Yes, this has led to the high D/F rates dropping in many classes. 

Administrators are also leaders here in looking for additional school resources to motivate students to want to reverse the failing trends.  This appears through after school tutoring with dedicated teachers and peer tutors with outstanding grades in the subjects that they are tutoring.  With teachers supplying work (ex.  homework, tests to redo, projects, etc.), the students seeking help have the opportunity to slowly bring up grades.  Further their teachers will receive insight into what their students were unsure of and that leads to teachers being more aware in delivering future lessons.

Implementation of common core will hopefully continue to reverse the negative numbers as more students begin to fully comprehend classroom instruction.



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