- Teacher Morale
Increasingly, many teachers see their roles encompassing not only teaching specific content and mentoring students, but also functioning as front-line social workers. This Digest examines factors that may influence teacher morale and offers suggestions for preserving or restoring morale.
- Alternative Teacher Compensation
This Digest examines various alternative methods of teacher compensation currently proposed or in practice in school districts in the US.
- Understanding and Preventing Teacher Burnout
This digest explains that burnout results from the chronic perception that one is unable to cope with daily life demands. It also looks at the nature of the stress response, describes the development of the burnout construct, and examines several types of prevention that can be useful in helping teachers contend with an occupation that puts them at risk for burnout.
Evaluation of Teachers
Common methods for evaluating teachers have been ineffective, such as measurement tests of teacher characteristics, student achievement test scores, and rating of teachers' classroom performance. Some research has been done to improve the evaluation process, but teacher assessment, in general,remains unorganized. This digest provides information about evaluation types, criteria, methods, procedure, and successful evaluation strategies.
Improving Teacher Evaluations
A teacher evaluation system should give teachers useful feedback on classroom needs, the opportunity to learn new teaching techniques, and counsel from principals and other teachers on how to make changes in their classrooms. Standards for evaluation should: relate to important teaching skills; be as objective as possible; be clearly communicated before the evaluation begins and reviewed after the evaluation is completed; and be linked to teachers' professional development.
Teacher Portfolio Assessment
One method for assessing teacher performance is the teacher portfolio. This is a collection of work produced by a teacher to highlight and demonstrate his or her knowledge and skills in teaching. A portfolio also provides a means for reflection and an opportunity to critique one's own work and evaluate one's own effectiveness as a teacher.
Measuring Leadership Potential
Today there are dozens of instruments that claim to measure leadership capacities. Although every instrument has limitations and must be used carefully, the tests can be used to identify leadership potential. This digest summarizes the reasons for using formal assessments, the attributes measured by such tests, the ways in which leadership potential is measured, and the limits of formal assessment.
Developing Teachers' Leadership Skills
Teacher leaders often teach full- or part-time while assuming leadership responsibilities. Also, they have often learned new roles just by doing the tasks demanded by those roles. A more systematic approach to helping teachers develop the requisite skills for assuming leadership roles (e.g. department chairs, team and grade leaders, and curriculum committee chairs) is discussed.
- Technology Professional Development:
Successful Strategies for Teacher Change
The goal of any professional development program is to inform and change teacher behavior as a result of new information. Professional development activities need to be designed in a way that ensures that teachers' time and your investment in time and money pay off in increased student achievement. Getting teacher buy in is important when technology is involved, especially for those who are not convinced technology is worth the time and effort.
The Classroom Teacher as Teacher Educator
The school-based teacher educator (SBTE) is a classroom teacher who is responsible for preservice, inservice, or continuing education at a school or district level while maintaining a primary work location in an elementary or secondary classroom. Teachers in this role have the potential for enhancing faculty morale by responding to both the professional and personal development needs of the faculty and by utilizing other teachers as resources within the designed program.
- Training Teachers to Design Interactive Homework
Homework is a leading factor for improving academic performance among students who have the ability to work independently and adequate parental support to complete homework assignments. When parents are interested in children's homework, students are more likely to successfully complete their assignments. To improve parent involvement, teachers must be trained to design interactive homework (IH) assignments.
Teacher Mentoring as Professional Development
Teacher mentoring programs have increased dramatically since the early 1980s as a vehicle to support and retain novice teachers. However, researchers and facilitators of mentoring programs are recognizing that mentors also derive substantial benefits from the mentoring experience. This digest examines research on how mentoring contributes to the ongoing professional development of experienced teachers.
- Critical Thinking:
Promoting It in the Classroom
Why should we be concerned about critical thinking in our classrooms? Obviously, we want to educate citizens whose decisions and choices will be based on careful, critical thinking. Maintaining the right of free choice itself may depend on the ability to think clearly.
- Learning through Discussion:
Designing Tasks for Critical Inquiry & Reflective Learning
Suggesting that properly designed and thoughtfully implemented discussion tasks can be an effective learning tool, this Digest discusses a learning-through-discussion framework that is designed to promote creativity and generate meaningful interaction and understanding for the learner. It discusses that goals of discussion and describes four discussion tasks.
- Controversial Issues in the Classroom
The essence of a healthy democracy is open dialogue about issues of public concern. An integral part of the training of young citizens, therefore, includes the discussion of controversial social, political, and economic policies. This ERIC Digest explores the use of classroom discussions as a pedagogical technique to examine controversial issues ...
- Issues in Selecting Topics for Projects
As increasing numbers of teachers and school districts incorporate project work into their curriculum, questions have been raised about what to consider when selecting project topics. This Digest addresses the main issues and suggests a list of topic selection criteria.
- Using Scaffolded Instruction To Optimize Learning
Scaffolded instruction is the systematic sequencing of prompted content, materials, tasks, and teacher and peer support to optimize learning. This digest begins by identifying the following eight essential elements of scaffolding instruction that teachers can use as general guidelines.
- Preparing Teachers and Students for Problem-Based Learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) is an educational approach that challenges students to 'learn to learn' -- students work cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real-world problems and, more importantly, to develop skills to become self-directed learners. This digest discusses some of the challenges in learning that students face, and identifies Web resources that teachers can use to support student learning.
- New Learning Strategies for Generation X
The gap between Generation X and earlier generations represents much more than age and technological differences. It reflects the effects of a changing society on a generation. The digest offers some suggestions for targeting instruction toward the characteristics identified with Generation X.
- Working with Perfectionist Students
Perfectionist students are not satisfied with merely doing well or even with doing better than their peers. They are satisfied only if they have done a job perfectly, so that the result reveals no blemishes or weaknesses. Problems associated with forms of perfectionism that focus on seeking success are relatively minor, however, compared to the problems associated with forms of perfectionism that focus on avoiding failure.
- Failure Syndrome Students
Students exhibiting failure syndrome approach assignments with low expectations of success and tend to give up at early signs of difficulty. This Digest delineates the nature of failure syndrome, suggests strategies for coping with failure syndrome students, and discusses how teachers can help.
- Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring
Research has demonstrated that with proper training, students can successfully tutor other students. Strikingly, student tutors often benefit as much or more than their tutees.
- Student Motivation To Learn
Awareness of how students' attitudes and beliefs about learning develop and what facilitates learning for its own sake can assist educators in reducing student apathy.
- Using Instructional Design Strategies To Foster Curiosity
Curiosity is a heightened state of interest resulting in exploration, and its importance in motivating scholarship cannot be ignored. It is also a critical component of creativity, and fostering curiosity and creativity in today's learners is a challenge faced by educators and instructional designers alike.
- Character Education through Children's Literature
Literary characters have almost the same potential for influencing the reader as the real people with whom a reader might share a reading experience. Given this, the implications for literature's role in character education are great.
Evaluating Workshops and Institutes
Evaluating a workshop or institute can help in at least four areas: (1) planning (deciding on the overall content, major goals, and more detailed objectives of the workshop/institute); (2) programming (deciding on the procedures, faculty, facilities, budget, and other resources needed for running the workshop/institute); (3) conducting the workshop or institute; and (4) making changes. Both the overall effectiveness of the program and the progress each participant makes toward the specified goals should be evaluated.