When you think about our school systems, do you think we are perfect? Definitely not. In fact, according to Teaching Point, “Thousands of schools in the United States have been given failing grades by their state Departments of Education. In the meantime, the existing shortage of qualified teachers is so obstinate that some school districts are waiving the established teaching certification requirements. District administrators, principals and teachers are under amplified pressure to improve student achievement scores on standardized tests in the face of the unequal distribution of experienced teachers in every subject.”
I definitely do not have all of the answers when it comes to potentially improving our school systems, but I think that getting our thoughts out there could help improve it in the future. Here are some of my ideas to potentially improve our school systems:
Ideally, most schools prefer for teachers to collaborate with one another to develop lesson plans, address learning needs of individual students, and share resources/ideas. This is all good in theory, but in reality, the majority of teachers have limited time within the school day to do just that. The only breaks teachers get throughout the day may be a short lunch break or the brief 5 minutes between classes. This is not nearly enough time to have meaningful discussions with other professionals.
Therefore, the school system needs to rethink the structure of the school day in such a way that allows for collaborative work and professional dialogue to take place. In some schools, the teachers have been provided a common preparation time each day to allow for collaboration with other professionals in their department. In other schools, teachers are given a half day each week to allow for staff development.
Micro-credentials For Teachers
Micro-credentialing is the process of earning a micro-credential in a specific topic or focus area of learning and education. When teachers get micro-credentials in a specific topic, it is almost a little degree in a way: it educates them more on that specific topic or focus area so that they can educate their students in a better fashion. Because there is such an absence of qualified teachers as we heard about above, we need to ensure that we are training and educating our current teachers effectively, by providing them with the education, skills, and technology that is needed. But, how do we do this? Teaching Point is definitely a great place to start!
Teaching Point is a provider of teacher training solutions through a patented and registered program that offers 3 distinct levels of professional development support: subject-specific instructional support materials, subject-specific mentoring teacher access, and subject-specific university hosted online courses to assist teachers in their efforts to be highly-effective and, where necessary, certify teachers in additional subject-areas. Teaching Point is impact committed, mission driven, and dedicated to serving the educational community by addressing the issue of the unequal distribution of highly-qualified and highly-effective teachers. The university hosted online courses that Teaching Point offers is a practical way of working toward certification or recertification credits when it comes to specific subjects. All teachers need easy access to programs such as Teaching Point, in order to stay up-to-date on their knowledge, in order to teach their children.
Awards For Attendance
I know that in general, school attendance is pretty low and that is really unfortunate because when kids do not attend school, they are obviously unable to learn, which brings down overall test scores and teacher ratings, as well. More importantly, it is creating a general population of people who think it is okay to skip school and not learn important information that will be valuable to them later in life. If we implemented an award system for attendance, maybe kids would be more inclined to attend regularly?
Utilize Digital Tools
Utilizing digital tools is so important because we are in a day and age where all children need to know how to use a computer and other smart devices. Since we do have an attendance problem, we could utilize digital tools to potentially create an off-site program for those who stay at home. Although in-school teaching is extremely valuable, utilizing digital tools in order to get education out to those who will inevitably skip school could be very helpful.
Establish Professional Learning Communities
The fees for traditional professional development can be expensive and may take a huge financial toll on the school. Professional Learning communities offer professional development for educators at little to no cost to the school. A professional learning community is “an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.” These communities operate under “the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.”
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