Listening to Great Teachers: A Teacher-Driven Research Project
What We Wanted to Know
- How have great teachers become the excellent educators they are today?
- What experiences and supports helped these teachers refine their practice over time?
A collaborative effort across ten organizations, this three-part research project goes straight to the source and asks some of our nation’s best educators to share their insights and reflections on these critical questions.
How We Are Collecting Data
- First-of-its kind exploratory survey of more than 300 National and State Teachers of the Year (2014)
- Focus groups with National and State Teachers of the Year (2015)
- Survey of teachers with the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certifications (2017)
What We Have Learned So Far
Reflecting on their careers, from preparation through mastery and even into retirement, the National and State Teachers of the Year surveyed in this study share insights into the professional experiences and supports that they believe most contributed to their growth and eventual excellence as teachers.
Their insights provide education leaders and policymakers with needed information about the professional experiences that help teachers move from good to great. Read the Executive Summary or download the full report from the links here:
- Research Brief: National and State Teachers of the Year share the experiences and supports helped them grow from preservice and novice teachers into great teacher leaders.
- Discussion Starter: Teacher leaders, school leaders, and policymakers can use this tool to begin a dialogue about what supports all teachers need in order to grow across their career continuum.
- Survey Results: Download this document to view the survey responses of the National and State Teachers of the Year in table format.
- Survey Instrument: Interested in our survey design? Download the survey questions to explore this teacher-led design in detail.
Teacher-Led Survey Design. Teachers fundamentally informed the survey itself through participation in teacher focus groups and through several teacher researchers who served as core study partners. The study contributes to teacher effectiveness research both by asking effective teachers about their own views on the factors influencing teacher effectiveness and by heavily incorporating teacher voice and teacher leadership in all aspects of the study.
In our first report, National and State Teachers of the Year rated teacher leadership repeatedly as one of their most significant supports and growth experiences throughout their careers. In our second report, we offer insights from teacher leaders themselves on this topic, exploring the specific ways in which teacher leaders can support instructional improvement. This report has four sections:
- Characteristics of teacher leaders
- Roles teacher leaders take in improving teacher practice
- Supports for and barriers to teacher leadership
- Policy options for expanding teacher leadership
Teacher leaders, school leaders, and policy leaders can use this tool to begin a dialogue about what supports all teachers need to grow across their career continuum.
In our third report, we shift gears to explore the perspectives of National Board Certified Teachers, asking them what experiences and supports were most important to their development over the course of their careers. This report underscores the importance of listening to great teachers and investing what can truly help teachers move from good to great.
- Research Brief: National Board Certified Teachers share the experiences and supports that helped them grow from preservice and novice teachers into great teacher leaders.
- Survey Results: Download this document to view the survey responses of the National Board Certified Teachers in table format.
- Survey Instrument: Interested in our survey design? Download the survey questions to explore our design in detail.
The Partnership. These reports are the result of a multiyear and ongoing collaboration among eleven leading organizations working to advance teaching and elevate the profession. Proposed by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) and led by the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) at American Institutes for Research, the study involves the following partner organizations, which have collaborated on this study in several ways, including contributing to the development of survey and focus group questions, data analysis, and drafting of the report.