RESEARCH CONFIRMS what parents have long known: The quality of a student’s teacher is, more than any other school-based factor, the most important force in shaping his or her educational outcomes. Unfortunately, there is tremendous variability in the quality of teaching from classroom to classroom in the United States. Many quantitative and qualitative classroom reports consistently show a pattern of low level instruction, with a significant minority of teachers mounting a much more ambitious and engaging instructional program.
WHY IS THIS? We argue that the problem lies not in individual teachers but in the absence of a system that reliably builds and grows teacher expertise. It is remarkable that given the importance of teachers and teaching to our nation’s collective life, that there is no reliable and integrated set of mechanisms—a system—that ensures the quality teaching that should be a birthright of every child.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL of our initiative is to transform teaching into a profession in which all educators have the knowledge, support, and influence needed to provide an excellent education for all U.S. students.
Building a System for Quality Teaching
Housed at Harvard and led by Associate Professor Jal Mehta
Jal Mehta is an Associate Professor in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His primary research interest is in understanding what it would take to create high quality schooling at scale, with a particular interest in the professionalization of teaching. He is co-editor of The Futures of School Reform (Cambridge: Harvard Education Press, 2012), and author of The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). He is currently working on two projects: The Chastened Dream, a history of the effort to link social science with social policy to achieve social progress; and In Search of Deeper Learning, a contemporary study of schools, systems, and nations that are seeking to produce ambitious instruction. Jal received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University.
Tyler S. Thigpen
Transforming Teaching unifies education organizations and other key actors around a shared effort to build a common knowledge base for teaching, establish a coherent system for training and developing educators, and cultivate a supporting environment for transformative change in the profession.
We are focused on creating the conditions such that every teacher in the U.S. has the knowledge, skills, support, and influence needed to provide a consistently excellent education for all students. Specifically, we embrace the following three strategies to achieve transformative change in the sector:
Objective 1. To CONVENE key education actors in order to stimulate cross-organizational relationship-building, learning, and collaboration.
Objective 2. To CATALYZE and support collaborative projects that have the potential to move the needle on Transforming Teaching design challenges.
Objective 3. To CULTIVATE a supporting environment by shaping public discourse, mobilizing educators and communities, and changing relevant policies and laws.