Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teacher Power

We hear a lot about the power of good teachers versus bad teachers in terms of their effectiveness at reaching kids and getting them to achieve at high levels. What we often lose sight of is that every teacher has an enormous impact on the students they teach. Perhaps even more than bringing about higher or lower levels of achievement, teachers have the power to shape basic attitudes and opinions of their students.

As Science Daily reported on Monday, high schol biology teachers have a tremendous power to shape their students' views in relation to the evolution vs. creationism debate. A survey of students at the University of Minnesota found that students who were taught creationism in high school were much more likely to view it as a valid scientific theory than those who were simply taught evolution. What the teacher presented made a difference.

Think about that for second. We aren't talking about completely credulous first graders who believe everything the teacher says because they don't know any better. We're talking about know-it-all, college-bound high school students who still believe what their teacher tells them.

That's a pretty powerful statement about the influence of teachers in our lives.

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