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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Why don't researchers answer the questions teachers ask?



Studying the effects of smaller class sizes or merit pay or vouchers is fine. But if education researchers really want to make a difference, they should look at the smaller things that teachers wrestle with, suggests a teacher in this piece in Education Next. Here's an excerpt:

" ... there is almost nothing examining the thousands of moves teachers must decide on and execute every school day. Should I ask for raised hands, or cold-call? Should I give a warning or a detention? Do I require this student to attend my afterschool help session, or make it optional? Should I spend 10 minutes grading each five-paragraph essay, 20 minutes, or just not pay attention to time and work on each until it “feels” done? ... What does not exist are experiments with results like this: “A randomized trial found that a home visit prior to the beginning of a school year, combined with phone calls to parents within 5 hours of an infraction, results in a 15 percent drop in the same misbehavior on the next day.” If that existed, perhaps teachers would be more amenable to proposals like home visits."

[Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2011 9:36am]


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