Blankstein: Start With Improving Teacher Efficacy

 Alan Blankstein
 Alan M. Blankstein is founder and president of the
  Hope Foundation.
by Angelina T. Velasquez

Alan M. Blankstein, founder and president of the HOPE Foundation, woke up the packed room of quiet superintendents early Saturday with a snippet of Aretha Franklin’s song “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

That got his AASA conference audience quickly engaged in what he had to say about teacher and student interaction contributing to high-performing schools and school districts.

In his Thought Leader session, he emphasized that every school will have its high-performing teachers and that school administrators should aim to make them the standard, not the exception.

“In any system there is going to be variation,” Blankstein said.

Knowing the process of success allows those high-performing teachers to become leaders to the entire team of teachers within the school.

Blankstein stressed that pockets of excellence allow for three types of teachers: the teacher who acts as if he or she sees no wrong committed in his or her classes; the enforcer; and the pacifier who relates and communicates with the students.

The latter teacher is the one who runs a classroom where students engage in the learning process, he said.

Establishing collective teacher efficacy is the most conducive component in turning poor-performing schools around and offering to the students what they need most. That takes “someone who will not give up on them,” said Blankstein.

“Lose the curriculum, not the kids” is the mantra Blankstein shared with the audience to better convey the message of students being the indispensable element of education.

(Angelina Velasquez, a graduate journalism student at the University of Southern California, is an intern on the AASA’s Conference Daily Online.)

Access the presenter's PowerPoint slide show on AASA's Conference Daily Online.