RTT/Building A Better Teacher

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  • Title: Building a Better Teacher
  • Author: Elizabeth Green
  • Publication info: Sunday Magazine. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2010.
  • Preview/purchase on Amazon

RTT relevance

This article was used by the MATCH school's initial training program as an introduction to the use of Doug Lemov's Teach Like A Champion. It serves as a useful introduction to research-based teaching techniques and teacher-specific knowledge that increases classroom efficacy.

Article summary

Elizabeth Green interviewed the author of "Teach Like A Champion", Doug Lemov, and University of Michigan education researcher, Deborah Ball. Both of these individuals have been teachers, and both are now on quests to figure out exactly what it takes to make someone a great teacher. Lemov began his quest by looking at test scores from a wide array of schools, identifying the outlier teacher that could make nearly any student perform well. He then spend hours observing these teachers and building a taxonomy for the pedagogy they used, regardless of the content they taught. This became his book of 49 techniques of champion teachers. Ball took a different approach. Coming from a background of teaching math, she believed that their was a core set of knowledge required, along with general teaching techniques, in order to be an effective teacher. She proved her case when researchers were able to significantly correlate the results of a multiple choice exam on her essential elementary math teacher skills to that teacher's student test scores, a very difficult task in educational research. From her conversations with both innovators, Green couldn't help but notice that many of their ideas were the same, even though Lemov beat Ball to articulating and writing it down.