Teachers' attitudes have powerful impact on curriculum
- A study from Stanford University found that teachers who changed their perception of math — deciding that the skill is useful — saw their own students’ math scores increase.
- Researcher Jo Boaler worked with 40 teachers who taught 5th grade and had them take a 12-hour online class, where they learned not just basic math skills, but how anyone could absorb them if they stayed focused on the subject, EdSource reports.
- Scores rose rapidly, going up 8 points higher in just three months and surprising even researchers, who believed the impact would take years.
How a teacher acts can impact the way a student learns. An educator who expresses, even through body language, a reluctance with a given subject or the sense that they don’t want to be in a classroom sends off a palpable message. Attitude, as it's been said, is everything.
Professional development can help alleviate discomfort teaching a specific topic, giving educators the scaffolding they need to boost their own abilities. This can then translate into a feeling of more authority as they work with students. Those who feel they’re being taught by someone with expertise, and who expresses a positive attitude, are likely to feel secure, as well, and better absorb what they’re being taught.
A 2016 study noted that finding “targeted professional development” could help teachers — and as a result, boost “students’ attitudes and behaviors.”