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This textbook and the companion workbook takes the approach that we, as a nation, need to rethink what needs to be done, rebuild the “institution” before we will be able to rebound.
The textbook serves as a framework for developing shared responsibility and accountability. Beginning with a dialogue on motivation and passion the book explores what ignites or re-ignites a student’s passion to achieve. It looks at self determination theory and its impact on student learning. Evaluating teacher performance has been a topic of much discussion and debate of late. Determining teacher efficacy has been inconsistent and not reflective of student and school performance. The authors examine value-added theory and its integral role in changing the learning cultures. The discussion involves how professional development can be a prime mover in laying the foundation for the implementation of a comprehensive assessment of teacher effectiveness. The focus is on the need for new thinking and a linkage between student achievement and teacher performance.
The next section of the textbook addresses 21st Century Skills. From identifying the skills necessary to be an effective 21st Century teacher to assessing student learning and improving student achievement the authors explore the critical attributes which will determine success from a student, teacher and school perspective. The question of what should professional development look like in order to prepare teachers to meet successfully the challenges of the 21st century.
The final section provides a brief history on public education reform. It explores the challenges, responses and the results. The authors identify keys to successful reform initiatives and the common denominators among successful schools. The textbook concludes with suggested next steps with respect to short and longer term initiatives focused on improving student achievement.
The workbook provides the reader a brief synopsis of the detailed discussion in the aforementioned text followed by a series of actual scenarios intended to provoke thought and provide an opportunity to apply the learning from the text. The workbook concludes with a capstone scenario based on real-life experiences which the authors proffer as a summative exercise drawing on the learning from the entire workbook and text.