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A Look Back: How Much “Content” Knowledge Do You Really Need To Be An Effective Teacher?

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Later this month, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Last August, I re-started a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ve been posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

Here are some compilations from past years:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

This post originally appeared in 2016:

Several years ago, I wrote a post that received many comments titled How Much “Content” Knowledge Do You Really Need To Be An Effective Teacher?

I think it’s worth checking out, and here’s how I ended it:

The dictionary says the definition of power is “the ability to act.” Some say that information is power. I don’t agree. I think it’s what you do with that information is what determines if you have power — what actions you take. And, in the context of being an educator, it’s not the information I know that determines how much power I have — it’s my ability to share it, to help others want it, and to help them figure out how they can also get it on their own so they can be life-long learners.

A study that came out last week seems to have reinforced my position. You can read about it at Education Week’s post, Study: Improving Teachers’ Math Knowledge Doesn’t Boost Student Scores.

Here’s an excerpt:

fourth-grade-math

As I said in my original post on the topic, I don’t think it has to be an either/or decision, but I continue to be concerned about “alternative credentialing” programs that put a primacy on subject knowledge and a lower priority on instructional skills.

What do you think?

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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