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Teaching Matters Most
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Teaching Matters Most
A School Leader’s Guide to Improving Classroom Instruction



June 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin
In Teaching Matters Most, Thomas McCann, Alan C. Jones, and Gail Aronoff make the case that the single most important factor in continuous school improvement is the quality of instruction in schools. Unlike other books that stop at evaluating teachers and instruction, these authors argue that school leaders must work to grow the instructional capacities within their schools. To meet this goal, they offer school leaders a three-step process that involves:(1) envisioning what good teaching looks like (2) measuring the quality of current instruction against this standard, and (3) working relentlessly to move the quality of instruction closer and closer to the ideal.

 
Foreword by Deborah Meier
 
Preface: Lessons Learned From Experience
A “New” Take in School Improvement

 
Central Theme

 
Organization of the Book

 
What Makes This Book Distinctive

 
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. What are common practices in schools?
What We Found in Classrooms

 
Truths Hidden in Plain View

 
Transforming Accountability

 
New Direction

 
Are There “Best Practices” in Teaching?

 
Bringing Best Practices to Scale

 
Are Some Practices Better Than Others?

 
The Poverty of Prescribing Best Practices

 
 
2. What distinguishes quality teaching?
Three Classrooms, Three Practitioners

 
A Simple Truth Hidden in Plain View

 
Disjointed Teaching

 
Why Teachers Are Frustrated

 
What Is Quality Teaching?

 
Observing High-Quality Teaching

 
Instructional Systems

 
The Road Less Traveled

 
 
3. How do we learn about the quality of our teaching?
How to Make the Case for an Emphasis on Teacher Quality

 
Three Leadership Requirements

 
Defining Quality Teaching

 
How to Engage School Personnel in Devising a Vision of Quality Instruction

 
Some Rudiments of Quality Teaching

 
The Importance of Curriculum Coherence

 
Learning From Students

 
The Current State of Teaching in Your School

 
How to Evaluate the Quality of Teaching in Your School

 
 
4. What should induction and mentoring look like?
Basic Components of a Teacher Mentor Program

 
Facing Critical Junctures Together

 
Planning for New Teachers’ Success

 
 
5. What should professional development look like?
What We Know About Professional Development

 
The Disregarded Truths of Professional Development

 
The Components of a Professional Learning Culture

 
Building Blocks of Professional Learning

 
Leading Professional Learning Communities

 
 
6. How can teacher evaluaiton become more meaningful?
“Drive-By” Teacher Evaluation

 
“Absentee Landords”

 
Lists and Rubrics Abound

 
 
7. How can we sustain a culture of exceptional instruction?
Ten Actions to Sustain High-Quality Teaching

 
Systems in Place

 
Sanctity of the Classroom

 
Envisioning Quality Teaching

 
Right People in Right Places

 
Balanced Leadership

 
Clear and Timely Communication

 
Standards for Professional Conduct

 
Collaboration

 
Reflection and Continuous Improvement

 
Ongoing Professional Dialogues

 
 
8. How do we face our leadership challenges?
Suppressing Distraction

 
Building Principal’s Knowledge

 
Building Trust

 
Influencing Resistant Teachers

 
Coping With the Pace

 
Final Thoughts

 
 
Resources
A. How Can You Spot a Really Good Teacher?

 
B. Framework for Observing Classes

 
C. Student Forum Questions

 
D. Teacher Interview Questions

 
 
References
 
Index

"A comprehensive book that provides site administrators not only the opportunity to reflect on their own practices but challenges them to reconsider the daily operations of their schools. The recommendations meld theory and practice together in an administrator-friendly way."

Sammie Cervantez, Principal
Munsey Elementary School, Bakersfield, CA

"This is a good book principals can use for faculty book study. It will lead to authentic dialogue about good teaching: how to get to it and how to maintain it."

Patricia Long Tucker, Superintendent
Altadena, CA

"This is an excellent book for administrators to build a focused, long-term solution to improve what happens in every classroom on a daily basis."

Kathy Tritz-Rhodes, Elementary Principal
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Schools, Marcus, IA

"A major strength of this book is how it identifies and puts in one place the key elements needed to improve student learning."

Dr. Laurie Emery, Principal
Old Vail Middle School, Vail, AZ

"I recommend this book for new principals and superintendents in induction programs. The content will inspire thoughtful discussions and lead to effective action plans."

Dr. Gayle Wahlin, Director of Leadership Services
DuPage Regional Office of Education , Downers Grove, IL

"In Teaching Matters Most, the authors remind us that to provide students with the highest quality of education, we must refocus on defining the quality of instruction in the classroom and building support systems for the teachers providing that instruction."

Matthew Haug, Principal
Central High School, Burlington, IL

"I am grateful to, and appreciative of, the authors of Teaching Matters Most for their efforts to improve student learning through the examination of classroom instruction. The authors offer practical and useful strategies that allow teachers to review their practices through frequent reflections. The book guides staff through activities that focus on their instructional practices for maximum student learning. I believe that study of this book can be a continuous professional development activity for teachers and school leadership teams."

James Pluskota, Principal
Edison School, Elmhurst, IL

good text. wonderful!

Dr Kris Bista
Curriculum Instruction Dept, University of Louisiana - Monroe
October 8, 2013

This is on my recommended book list for EDUL 6333, Leadership for Curriculum Development. It is excellent!!

Dr Shirley Mills
Dept of Educational Leadership, University of Texas - Pan American
September 4, 2013
Key features
  • Provides school leaders with a vision of what exceptional teaching looks like and a blueprint for achieving serious improvement in the overall quality of teaching in their schools.
  • Focuses intentionally and sharply on a limited number of pedagogical priorities for growing the instructional capacities within their schools, including induction and mentoring, ongoing professional development, teacher evaluation that includes the use of student insights, and sustaining exceptional instruction.
  • Offers probes, observational frameworks for completing instructional audits in schools, instruments, and protocols to use in measuring the quality of instruction in a school at the moment, and tracking changes over time.
  • Each chapter concludes with Questions for Discussion and Reflection and Action Steps for Getting Started

Purchasing options

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ISBN: 9781452205106
$36.95

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