Texas children do not have time to wait on their teachers to build teaching capacity. Teachers must enter classess ready with the necessary knowledge & skills to inspire their children to higher academic performance. Presently, the reserach shows that teachers require 3 to 5-years to acquire sufficient knowledge & skills to inspire higher academic performance from their students (Lopez, 1995, Center for Teaching Effectiveness, 1993, 2004, 2010) .
Building Teacher Capacity
If the number of years a teacher spends in the classroom build capacity, then experience counts. Logically, the more experiences a teacher experiences in the classroom and/or in her/his preparation program the more capacity the teacher builds. eQuality Teach proposes to expose the teacher to more experiences reducing the years required to build capacity through a series of video games for teachers. Where teachers are exposed to teaching scenarios and are expected to react accordingly leading to building capacity.
Presently, teacher preparation programs rely on two types of internships to fulfill classroom experience: Probationary Certificate or the student teacher placement. One offers the teacher the opportunity to learn the trade while on the job, in the other the teacher serves as an apprectice to a master teacher. A Probationary Certificate indicates that a teacher does not hold a Standard Certificate. Instead, the teacher that holds the Probationary Certificate may hold as little as no experience in the classroom or holds as many as three-years of experience. A non-certified teacher may request three Probationary Certificates supported by their school district and issued by the preparation program. The Probationary Certificate allows a teacher to complete their teacher preparation program while teaching without a Standard Certificate. Texas Education Agency data does not show the number of Probationary Certificates issued by TEA (TEA Pocket Edition, 2004-2009). However, since 2004-2005, Texas Education Agency (TEA Pocket Edition, 2004-2009) offered Texas teachers’ years of experience in the classroom.
If ultimately, student success is the primary concern, and key to student success is the teacher; logically, the more experience the teacher holds in the classroom the better prepared s/he is to guide children to higher success. Data reporting indicates that teacher experience counts. Why does teacher experience count? The school’s main core business is teaching and learning. A quality curriculum and effective instruction are key elements to ensure successful teaching and learning in schools (Grigsby et. al. 2010).
As teachers acquire knowledge and skills to teach children well, teachers build capacity in guiding students to higher academic achievement (Lopez, 1995, Center for Teaching Effectiveness, 1993, 2004, 2010; Feiman-Nemser & Remillard, 1997). A growing body of educational theory, research, and best practice is undertaking the task of describing the components of the building capacity continuum, learning that stretches from the teacher preparation program, or before, to the teacher’s emergence years later as a seasoned, accomplished professional.
Questions That Count
If building teacher capacity is critical to student academic gains as studies indicate, two questions surface:
How does a teacher build capacity?
What types of strategies lead to reducing the time necessary to build teacher capacity?
According to Lopez (1995; Grigsby et. al. 2010), teacher classroom experience is the most important source of teacher capacity in a student’s learning. Lopez’s study indicates that, on average, teachers require sic to seven years of classroom experience to fully develop the knowledge and skills necessary to produce higher student academic gains.
Well-Prepared Teacher Counts
However, the Center for Teaching Effectiveness (1999) research studies show that a well-prepared teacher is more likely to acquire capacity earlier, producing higher student academic gains immediately. Simply, teacher effectiveness improves with teaching experiences which bridge theory and practice. Hence, a teacher’s preservice experience is key to reducing the tome necessary to build teacher capacity. Consequently, program effectiveness is key to academic success.
More critical is the limited capacity with which many beginning teachers, in particular, minority teachers, enter the classroom. However, often beginning teachers enter the classroom with limited capacity.
Student Capital Counts
Investing in student capital? Economists and sociologist recognize the importance of social capital ( the social relations that exit in the family or in the community outside of the family), financial capital (monetary assets), and human capital (assets embodied in the knowledge and skills that a person has) for an individual to produce desired outcomes.
Top 10 Characteristics of a Quality School:
- Attitude of the Office Staff
- Attitude of the Principal
- Mix of New & Veteran Teachers
- Student-Centered Attitude with Core Values
- Mentoring Program
- Departmental Politics Kept to a Minimum
- Faculty is Empowered & Involved
- Teamwork Among the Faculty
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