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What Makes a Highly Qualified Teacher?

The term “highly qualified teacher” has become a buzzword. But what makes a highly qualified teacher? We believe that being a highly qualified teacher entails more than just being credentialed. In fact, we believe it is more helpful to think about what high quality teaching requires that teachers be able to know and do. A growing body of research is beginning to substantiate the crucial link between student achievement and the quality of a teacher’s instruction. High quality teaching requires teachers who are:

  • expert in the subject matters they will teach and able to develop strategies and practices for creating learning experiences that make subject matter accessible and meaningful so that all students can achieve at high levels;
  • reflective practitioners who continually inquire into the nature of teaching and learning, reflect on their own learning and professional practice, evaluate the effects of their choices and actions on others, and seek out opportunities to grow professionally
  • understand that children and adolescents bring varied talents, strengths and perspectives to learning and are able to use these talents, strengths and perspectives to design and carry out instruction that builds on students’ individual and cultural strengths.
  • believe that schools can promote social justice, have a commitment to ensuring that schools provide equal learning opportunities to all students, and have a passion for serving as agents of change
  • bring a multiplicities of talents strengths and perspectives, and can contribute to the intellectual and cultural diversity of their schools.