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I just finished reading "Building a Better Teacher" and I have to say, I feel worried.
I’m worried that people in the business of teaching teachers claim that successful teaching depends partially on an innate ability. The un-teachable teacher…is that not the ultimate oxymoron?

I’ll agree that some people seem to possess natural talent for teaching, but I think that’s true of most professions. What makes Michael Jordan a great athlete? What makes Steve Jobs a successful businessman? What makes a great teacher? Knowledge. Attitude. Skill. Habits.

Knowledge and Skill are important, I concur. They both matter. The problem is that Knowledge and Skill cannot bring transformation. Consider this...I know that McDonald’s is bad for me, yet I occasionally find myself in the drive-through lane. I have Knowledge of the nutritional content of the menu items, yet I still order French Fries. I know Apple Dippers are obviously the healthier choice, but changing behavior is hard. It requires honest reflection and goal-setting.

I love that I have a job where I get help teachers facilitate such changes, but changing teachers’ Attitudes and Habits seems to be a neglected component of educational reform. Most training or professional development is related to Knowledge and Skills. We often fail to evaluate the Habits and Attitudes that make a good teacher, or as Eric Jensen would say, an enlightened teacher.

I feel worried that if we don't define what makes a good teacher, politicians will do it for us. So please visit and help us define the Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, and Habits of effective teachers by finishing this sentence: A good teacher...

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