What it will take to ‘build’ better teachers


From revamping state teacher evaluation and tenure systems to pushing for higher admissions standards and more hands-on experience in teacher preparation programs, states are trying a long list of reforms aimed at improving teacher quality.

In her book “Building a Better Teacher,” Elizabeth Green looks at what researchers know about what makes teachers effective and how to train new teachers in those best practices.

“I think we assume that there are good teachers and then there are bad teachers, so what we need to do is get more of the good ones and fewer of the bad ones,” Green told PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown in an interview that will air tonight. “But the reality is that teaching well is a skill that requires a lot of craft knowledge and specialized ability that goes beyond just knowing a subject really well.”

In this web extra Brown and Green talk about the lessons she took away from teaching a couple of classes about biographical writing in a New York City public high school and why teacher preparation programs haven’t historically studied what it means to teach well.

PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.