Einstein Science Reporting for Kids
[ E-mail ]

Contact: Science Press Package
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Good teachers need more than facts

Dr. Joseph P. Allen
[Photograph by Jen Fariello]

What makes a good teacher? When adults answer this question, they often talk about how well the teacher understands his or her subject and can explain it to students. But, if you're a student reading this, you might be thinking, well, ok, but there's more to it than thatů.

The authors of a new study being published in the 19 August issue of the journal Science would agree with you. They've used science to show that the way teachers relate to their students also makes a big difference in how well kids do in school.

Joseph Allen of the University of Virginia and colleagues found that a year-long coaching program aimed at the social interactions between high-school teachers and students can lead to higher student achievement. The program involved special coaching, workshops and other resources for teachers, to help them motivate and engage their students. Teachers learned about being sensitive to their students' need to feel independent, to be actively involved in what they were learning, and to understand why the material being taught mattered in their lives.

The researchers compared student test scores in classes whose teachers completed this program with scores from classes whose teachers did not complete the program. They found that students whose teachers did complete this program had higher scores.