Following a longer than expected hiatus, After Class is back in session. I apologize for the delay.
I’ll start with a link to an article by Malcolm Gladwell, which appeared in the Dec. 15 issue of The New Yorker. Gladwell, whose third book “Outliers: The Story of Success” recently topped The New York Times bestseller list, turns to teaching and writes about why it’s so tough to predict who will be a great teacher.
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Education has “a quarterback problem,” Gladwell writes.
He continues: “There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they’ll do once they’re hired. So how do we know whom to choose in cases like that? In recent years, a number of fields have begun to wrestle with this problem, but none with such profound social consequences as the profession of teaching.”
Gladwell cites a Standford economist who estimates that students with a very good teacher will in a school year learn three times as much as students with a very bad teacher.
He writes: "Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a 'bad' school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher."
It’s a fascinating piece. Click here to read it.