Teaching Quality

Those close to me professionally know how much I dislike use of the term teacher quality.  It does not serve us well, and does nothing to help our kids and teachers accelerate their work.  It is NOT about the quality of the individual teacher himself, it is in-fact about his teaching quality that we must focus on.  Someone might say this is simply word-play.  Think about it more deeply and I’d bet you will see how one term sets us up for confrontation, and the other term sets us up for better focusing on the behaviors, not the person, and for providing better coaching and other supports to ratchet upward the quality of every teacher.

When we concluded more than 7 years of research behind Power of Teaching–the Science of the Art, we discerned the 44 most powerful teaching behaviors that affect quality of teaching and learning.  The attached video clip provides an explanation of the work and how our research team decided to place the behaviors into coaching categories.  For more information about Power of Teaching, contact NWEA professional development at

Here goes:

Classroom Management and Behavior

Today, I saw yet another mass distribution from one of our national organizations touting techniques and training available to cure classroom management and student behavior issues.  It is a downright breach of professionalism to segregate the issues of classroom management and behavior management from other techniques of effective teaching.   We see this segregation far too often.  The research we all have easy access to, provides clear guidance–the best management of student behavior is good teaching–pure and simple!

Instead of force-feeding more classroom management training and development and frankly wasting the time of too many of our Nations’ teachers, we should consider the following when working on improved student behavior.

1.  If we hold ourselves as adults accountable first for behavior and then kids for their behavior we can yield better and longer lasting positive results.

2.  School and classroom culture mean everything to student behavior.  Compliance and expectations of compliance alone will never cut it.  Consistency and authentic engagement always provide positive results.

3. Disengaged, bored or frustrated students yield acting-out, sooner with boys and eventually with girls.

4.  Consequences must always be clear, consistent, and  fair.  Consequences must fit the infractions and fit the student’s maturity, emotional and cognitive readiness.

I hope we can stop yielding to commercialism and engage in what our professional research indicates when it comes to improving teachers’ management of their students and student behavior.

Bill Slotnik, executive director of the Community Training and Assistance Center and I learned from a high schooler in Delaware something quite profound when he said, “If the teaching improves, the student behavior will improve.”

What did I miss?


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