What teachers need


In her new book, Building a Better Teacher, Elizabeth Green explores how teaching works. She says teachers’ skill and knowledge matter way more than their personalities. In fact, she says “the fallacy of the natural-born teacher”  has led to many problems facing schools today.

Photo: C. Daniel Deitch

Photo: C. Daniel Deitch

Green tells education correspondent Emily Hanford that “most teachers are in the middle. They aren’t born great, and they’re not born bad. They’re just people who are trying to do something very hard in a system that makes it even harder than it needs to be.”

In the book, Green introduces readers to teachers who are exploring the intricate science that underlies their craft. She describes what happens in the classroom of a great teacher. She says the skills and knowledge teachers need are available from other teachers.

Green offers examples drawn from research and international experience. She travels with researchers to Japan and notes that American math reforms are more widely adopted there than in the United States. She says the United States produces good ideas but needs more ways to implement them.