Five myths and five goals: Teaching 2030

The new book Teaching 2030, written by Barnett Berry, president of the Center for Teaching Quality, and a team of 12 teachers from around the country, is must-read material. The ideas in the book for how to help students now and in the future transcends the old stalemates and false dichotomies (ex. reformers vs. unions)

On today’s Washington Post Answer Sheet blog, Berry concisely lays out 5 problematic myths and 5 worthy goals for schools and teachers. Read the whole (relatively brief) essay for more explanation, but here is the elevator pitch:

Five problematic myths that impede real progress in the classroom:

  • Myth #1: Teacher preparation matters little for student achievement.
  • Myth #2: Teaching experience matters little for student achievement.
  • Myth #3: Removing incompetent teachers will fix our schools.
  • Myth #4: Teacher tenure rules make it impossible to get rid of poor teachers.
  • Myth #5: Merit pay will motivate teachers to teach more effectively.

Five useful goals for schools and teachers:

  • #1: Teach the Googled learner, who has grown up on smartphones and virtual reality games and can find information (if not understanding) with a few taps of the finger;
  • #2: Work with a student body that’s increasingly diverse (by 2030, 40 percent or more will be second-language learners);
  • #3: Prepare students to compete for jobs in a global marketplace where communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative problem solving are the “new basics”;
  • #4: Help students monitor their own learning – using sophisticated tools to assess whether students meet high academic standards and fine-tuning instruction when they don’t; and
  • #5: Connect teaching to the needs of communities

It makes sense! Teaching 2030 puts these goals in context and illustrates the needed change levers and how to activate them. I want to live in the world of Teaching 2030, not one where the five counterproductive myths permeate the discourse.

Full disclosure: The Center for Teaching Quality hosts teacherleaders.org.