Published Online: January 2, 2008

From Gaps to Gifts

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There’s a lot of great teaching going on, unsung and unseen. If we can shift our focus from teachers’ deficiencies to teachers’ strengths, we can start tapping into that talent.

In most schools, we do a pretty good job of finding out where our teachers are falling short. We don’t do as good a job seeking out those classrooms where things are going well. What if we made a sustained national effort at asset mapping?

What if we found out what every teacher in every school in America is good at, and then encouraged them to develop that gift and to share it with other teachers? We could have classroom teachers leading job-embedded professional development, rather than flying in high-dollar consultants who understand little about a school’s context and culture.

If we look for the excellence within our schools, I think we’ll find that Bill Clinton’s great line about America is true of teacher quality as well: There’s nothing wrong with the teaching profession that cannot be cured by what is right with it.

Vol. 27

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Quality Counts is produced with support from the Pew Center on the States.

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