An LA Times analysis recently identified that the quality of the teacher a student gets at school is a bigger predictor of success than the quality of the school a child attends.

Highly effective teachers were compared using results from the state standardized tests and it was found that, regardless of background of the students or previous performance, good teachers were able to take previously weak students and turn them into high performers.

Some other interesting findings included;

• Highly effective teachers routinely propel students from below grade level to advanced in a single year. There is a substantial gap at year’s end between students whose teachers were in the top 10% in effectiveness and the bottom 10%. The fortunate students ranked 17 percentile points higher in English and 25 points higher in math.

and;

• Many of the factors commonly assumed to be important to teachers’ effectiveness were not. Although teachers are paid more for experience, education and training, none of this had much bearing on whether they improved their students’ performance.

This year at Sekolah Bogor Raya, we have been recruiting specialist teachers from Jakarta in order to find the level of quality and experience that we need at all levels of the school. We have found that the best predictor of a teacher’s quality is the microteaching stage of our recruitment process where we ask potential teachers to deliver an observed lesson to a sample class.

Knowledge of education theory and a thick CV full of classroom experience are, of course, highly valuable. But actually seeing how a teacher connects with the students and responds to them in the classroom is priceless.

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