Efficacy is the ability of someone or something to produce an effect. Teachers demonstrate their efficacy when they inspire growth and learning from their students, their peers, the system and the world. Although research clearly states that the teacher has the greatest effect on student learning, we often forget their influence on the school, the system and the world. Teachers are the most important person in education, as they activate and inspire learning through implementing pedagogy, supporting initiatives and leading extra-curricular activities. It’s their professional judgement and practices that shape the learning and culture of a school
First, the students they teach, coach, direct or support in many diverse ways are effected by the professional decisions and practices they perform everyday. Indeed, there are a plethora of examples where student achievement increases when teachers focus their instruction on their students’ needs defined by learning goals and success criteria. The greater the skill and reflection of teachers to use high yield strategies and tools the greater their efficacy.
However, teacher efficacy does not end at the student, as many may think. I have seen numerous examples of teacher efficacy with their colleagues thereby building social capital in the school. Over the last three years as Principal at Park Manor PS in Elmira, I have seen teachers inspire their colleagues through sharing instructional best practices, sharing their approaches to solving student learning or behaviour problems and modelling innovation with new pedagogy, technology or applications.
The final layer of influence of teacher efficacy is at the system or global levels. They do this by influencing my thinking, which I can then share through system committees and networks, my blog and global connections. As well, we have had numerous visitors to our school to learn more about our digital learning framework along with many website visits and phone conversations. With respect to trying something new or innovative, I get the best feedback from teachers when they have tried a new instructional practice, technology tool or application and they share what was value added, what was waste and most importantly how to make it better. This information is very precious to me because it comes directly from where value is added in education, the student (Gemba), by the teacher, who is the best person to judge its effectiveness.
When I think of the implementation of our Accelerated Learning Framework (http://acceleratedlearningframework.wordpress.com/) (http://pkm.wrdsb.ca/technology-for-learning/), I know that it is the professional decisions and practices of teachers that will allow us to truly develop Global Critical Thinkers Collaborating To Change The World.