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written by Kathleen Fulton and Ted Britton
These two studies place a capstone on a decade of teacher effectiveness research. We now have compelling evidence that when teachers team up with their colleagues they are able to create a culture of success in schools, leading to teaching improvements and student learning gains. The clear policy and practice implication is that great teaching is a team sport. Performance appraisal, compensation, and incentive systems that focus on individual teacher efforts at the expense of collaborative professional capacity building could seriously undermine our ability to prepare today's students for 21 st century college and career success. Every school needs good teachers--but a school does not become a great place to learn until those teachers have the leadership and support to create a learning culture that is more powerful than even the best of them can sustain on their own.
These findings have significant implications for America's competitiveness in a global innovation economy. Student mastery in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is essential to our economic growth. But America's twenty?year decline in international science and mathematics standings tells us that we have serious challenges to overcome. Countries that persistently rank at the top of international measures of science and mathematics achievement do things differently. A growing number of reports indicates that one of their biggest advantages is in the clear, consistent, and coherent support systems they provide for teachers from preparation through induction to accomplished practice. 2
Learning is no longer preparation for the job; it is the job. Today's students are preparing for a future in which they will invent and reinvent their work, team up to solve problems, develop new knowledge, and continuously acquire new skills. They need teachers who know how to create schools that look like the learning organizations they will work in for the rest of their lives.
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