Good Teaching Forever: 8 Great Outcomes

Sister Charlene was my speech and debate coach in high school. She was demanding, inspiring, relentless, and dedicated to our success. Forty plus years later I can hear her voice and I think of her often when I make public presentations. She was a fantastic teacher.

Recently, researchers at Columbia and Harvard completed a massive study of the benefits of good teaching, using value-added metrics. They found that:

  • Good teachers positively impact the future income of their students.
  • Students with good teaching are more likely to enroll in college and graduate.
  • Students with good teachers are less likely to get pregnant as teenagers.
  • Having a good teacher in later grades (e.g. high school) is just as beneficial as having a good teacher in earlier grades (e.g. elementary school).

This last finding may surprise you, but it may be the most important piece of new wisdom. Why?

Good teaching is always important, whatever your age, your station in life or the subject to be learned. Of course, there must be a student with a willingness to learn, but the very best leaders and entrepreneurs understand that teaching, not simply telling, is a demanding and rewarding undertaking. Good teaching:

  • Focuses on a developing mind and critical thinking, not simply increasing knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Inspires dialogue with the teacher and others to enhance learning and teamwork.
  • Includes an element of mentoring as the learner advances in their knowledge of a subject.
  • Incorporates some flexibility and humor in the journey of learning, which usually leads to long-term excitement about learning itself.

There is a picture of Sister Charlene and my debate buddies, Dick, John and Kevin above my desk, now many years after she has passed on. Teaching is an art and passion that she lived and about which there should be no compromise, if we value our children’s future.