Education Week (online, January 6, 2012):
For this study, the researchers broadened the list of outcomes slightly to include a measure of student effort and emotional engagement. Students taught by the teachers studied reported, for instance, on whether they pushed themselves to understand lessons in the class, and whether they felt happy in class.
Who doesn’t already know that teachers whose students “pushed themselves to understand lessons,” and “felt happy in class” will get better results than teachers with students who did not push themselves to understand lessons and who were not happy in class?
Cut the Crap
We don’t need studies to determine what makes a good teacher; we need a useful, inspiring definition of the educated person. Good teachers model and teach that definition. It’s simple — good teachers model and teach the six virtues. People who deny this simply aren’t thinking philosophically. They also aren’t thinking practically. They believe in a school improvement paradigm that has done little to improve education over the last 60 years.
The social science improvement paradigm takes what is simple and makes it complicated. The following research paper is an example. It fails to explain how to improve education, but it makes the head spin with its description of how complicated it is.
Can you read the Executive Summary, without getting overwhelmed with jargon and complexity? Don’t let social scientists say that’s your fault! It’s theirs–for using the wrong improvement paradigm. Because they use the wrong paradigm, they can’t explain how to improve education in any way we don’t already know. Should I conduct a study to determine if that is true? Of course not–that would be silly. Reason tells us that using the wrong improvement paradigm won’t lead to improvement. The best explanations for why things are a certain way are often neither scientific nor social scientific. Many experiences are explained by pointing to how we perceive them as beautiful or ugly. We experience them aesthetically.
Here is another study that reports what we already know. Make sure you read the comments at the end by people who are wiser than both the researchers and the reporter.