Teacher satisfaction affects student achievement, but being part of a professional learning community can have also a buffering effect on that outcome, a study has found.
, published last month in the American Journal of Education, was conducted by Neena Banerjee, an assistant professor of public administration at Valdosta State University in Georgia, and three researchers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It draws on federal data for 5,850 students and their teachers. The students were part of a national database that tracked them from kindergarten in 1998 to middle school.
The authors found that students have higher reading achievement by 5th grade when their teachers enjoy teaching and think they are making a difference. In math, there was no significant relationship between student achievement and their teacher job satisfaction.
When students with dissatisfied teachers were in schools with strong professional learning communities, they scored higher in math by the 3rd and 5th grades. The study suggests that the professional learning environment “cushions” students from harmful effects from unhappy teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2017 edition of Education Week as School Climate