In this op-ed in a recent issue of Ed Week, former superintendent Joseph Wise points out that accountability should not just focus on the what, but the how, of teaching. I could write five or ten posts on Wise’s various points in the article, but here’s what I think is at the core of his argument: Teaching is a practice, so the improvement of teaching must focus on practice.
Historically, intense focus on the what of teaching has led us away from a healthy balance of all that drives true academic achievement. How we teach, how we challenge, how we redirect, and how we engage students is of no less importance than the what we profess to teach. Ironically, over the years, we actually have learned much and documented much about best practices in teaching. Substantial and expert research reveals that we already have explored and analyzed much about the how of teaching; we simply haven’t acknowledged its pivotal effect on academic achievement in the way we support and coach teachers.
Another great quote:
Accountability, at its essence, is not a goal; it is the acceptance of responsibility for all that we do in our classrooms, day in and day out. Accountability, when embraced for what it is, turns out to be not some sort of punitive “gotcha”; instead, it is what drives commitment to continuous examination, reflection, and improvement.
Joseph Wise, We Must Shift From Teacher Quality to Teaching Quality (Ed Week)