School Reform: Once Again A Tale of Teacher Power

Teachers make a difference:)


Summary: Amid the relative merits of “direct instruction” and “inquiry” approaches to curriculum, a narrative emerges that suggests teacher empowerment may be the more important variable.
In the ongoing assault on school dysfunction, debate rages between those who advocate “direct instruction” — drill in the basic skills of reading and math, and which has some proven success in raising test scores — and partisans of “inquiry” based approaches that purport to teach greater understanding of concepts and hence promote longer term problem solving.
A recent story in the Seattle Times that features success in low income classrooms at Gildo Rey Elementary School in Auburn, Washington, plants the discussion in a context in which teacher initiative has been a critical component. Thus, the outcome there to date says as much about the importance of institutional culture in a school as it does about the respective merits of one pedagogical approach or…

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