Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Darling-Hammond, L. (1998). Teachers and teaching: Testing policy hypotheses from a national commission report. Educational Researcher, 27 (1), 5-15.

The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (1996) defined every child's birthright as access to a competent, caring, and qualified teacher. Darling-Hammond reviews the research behind the commission's analysis and recommendations, and describes the research and programmatic work needed to test their policy proposals. The Commission's proposals (which are essentially hypotheses based on theories about teaching, learning, and schooling) are that (1) what teachers know and can do is one of the most important influences on what students learn; (2) recruiting, preparing, and retaining good teachers is the central strategy for improving our schools; and (3) school reform cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions in which teachers can teach and teach well. Darling-Hammond concludes that if all children are to have the opportunity to learn to the new standards, both research and practice must be focused at increasing the knowledge base of individual educators and the profession as a whole. Critical investments should be made to redesign teacher preparation programs and professional development approaches and restructure schools to support teacher learning and collaboration.

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