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ERIC Number: ED518392
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
Workplaces that Support High-Performing Teaching and Learning: Insights from Generation Y Teachers
Coggshall, Jane G.; Behrstock-Sherratt, Ellen; Drill, Karen
American Institutes for Research
Generation Y public school teachers--those born between 1977 and 1995-- who have been serving students for nearly a decade now, represent an increasingly large proportion of the teaching workforce, and, with concerted support, promise to help bring needed transformation to schools that too often remain stuck in an earlier age. Members of this incoming and up-and-coming generation of teachers want to make a difference for their students and, somewhat counter to expectations, intend to make the teaching profession theirs for the long haul. They are also, however, entering the workforce during a time of significant uncertainty and transition. Just in the last decade, a series of widely cited research studies convinced policy leaders and the public of the profound importance of teachers to the advancement of student learning, and simultaneously of the wide differences among teachers' ability to evoke such advancement. This has led to sweeping and often hasty policy changes meant to increase accountability for teachers--including more rigorous teacher evaluation based on student outcomes, performance-based compensation, and stricter tenure eligibility rules. Meanwhile, students are coming to school with a greater diversity of needs and assets, requiring teachers to personalize learning at the same time that economic factors are driving class sizes higher and constraining the resources available to help teachers reach each student. Advances in technology and pedagogy have given teachers more tools to manage these challenges and students more ways to access knowledge. These advances promise to change the role of teachers in student learning. Unfortunately, teachers--both young and less so--are often left to negotiate these changes alone in workplaces that lack shared responsibility among teachers and management for teaching and learning and thus are troublingly slow to keep pace. This causes too many promising teachers to leave the profession and too many others to struggle along with their students. This report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which presents the results of a study of this new generation of teachers, demonstrates that school and union leaders at every level can and must work together to transform schools into the kinds of organizations that are well fitted to Generation Y. The AFT partnered with the Ford Foundation and American Institutes for Research, to conduct a study of the workplace needs of this new generation of teachers. Through an analytic review of 11 existing, nationally representative teacher surveys, seven scenario-based focus groups with Gen Y teachers around the country, and three case studies of local AFT affiliates, researchers identified five key insights that together point to the need for transforming schools into high-performing workplaces that: (1) Ensure teachers receive regular feedback on their effectiveness; (2) Support peer learning and shared practice; (3) Recognize (and reward) high performance; (4) Have fair, rigorous, and meaningful evaluation systems; and (5) Leverage technology intelligently to enhance performance. Appendices include: (1) Teacher Surveys Reanalyzed; and (2) Teacher Surveys Reviewed. (Contains 10 figures and 8 footnotes.) [Research support for this paper was provided by Roshni Menon and Ellen Cushing.]
American Institutes for Research. 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-403-5000; Fax: 202-403-5001; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research; American Federation of Teachers