Does School Climate Influence, Even Determine Teacher Effectiveness?

The Seventy-Four took a look at research over the years that has indicated that good schools help good teachers be effective–but a school with a negative school climate can leave even the best of teachers with their hands tied.

“Needs and Desires” worksheet – life skills

This would be easier to comfortably conclude if contradictory research did not also indicate that effective teachers may raise positive school climate through their skill. The competing research, then, leaves us to wonder if school climate and teacher effectiveness is a chicken and the egg type scenario.

Regardless, even if research proved definitively that teacher effectiveness is directly correlated to school climate, The Seventy-Four points out how hard it is to pinpoint exactly how to create a more positive climate.

One thing The Seventy-Four and many education advocates can agree on: policy doesn’t come close enough to trying.

“[P]olicymakers might consider allotting time and money for teachers to regularly collaborate, observe classrooms, and serve as mentors — though it’s not clear whether these approaches would be more cost-effective than, say, raising teacher salaries or reducing class size,” The Seventy-Four said.

Other approaches that affect positive school climate, the article says, are things like moving towards restorative justice system and giving principals more say in regulating their respective school’s educator workforce.

When discussing the principal’s role, the article points out that the entire process of recruiting, training and evaluating principals could use some meaningful reform, as well.

In other words, “”[w]hile there’s good reason to believe that no teacher is an island, much less is known about how to create school communities most likely to help teachers improve and make them want to stay.”

The Seventy-Four challenges policymakers to better understand what is working and what isn’t by not assuming that a collection of great individual teachers makes a school a good one.

Read the full article.



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