Teaching the teachers
TO THE 11- and 12-year-olds in his maths class, Jimmy Cavanagh seems like a born teacher. He is warm but firm. His voice is strong. Correct answers make him smile. And yet it is not his pep that explains why his pupils at North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey, can expect to go to university, despite 80% of their families needing help to pay for school meals. Mr Cavanagh is the product of a new way of training teachers. Like many of his North Star colleagues are or have been, Mr Cavanagh is enrolled at the Relay Graduate School of Education. Hello, Mr Chips There can be few crafts more necessary. Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford University, has estimated that during an academic year pupils taught by teachers at the 90th percentile for effectiveness learn 1.5 years’ worth of material. Rich families find it easier to compensate for bad teachers, so good teaching helps poor kids the most. Such studies emphasise the power of good teaching. There is a good deal of sense in this.
• teaching and learning