Building a Better Teacher Book Summary - Building a Better Teacher Book explained in key points

Building a Better Teacher summary

Elizabeth Green

How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Everyone)

Brief summary

Building a Better Teacher by Elizabeth Green explores how to improve education by understanding how great teaching works. It will inspire and challenge you to rethink what you know about teaching.

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    Building a Better Teacher
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    The American education system employs a huge number of teachers, yet is under great strain.

    Teachers make up the majority of the American workforce. Before we delve into the specific details of the American education system, you first should understand just how big it is.

    In 2008, a study conducted by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that the teaching profession claimed the highest number of employees. In the United States, there are 180,000 architects, 185,000 psychologists, 952,000 lawyers, 3.3 million blue-collar workers – and 3.7 million teachers.

    Moreover, this number actually needs to increase. Three million additional teachers will be needed between 2013 and 2020, as the baby-boomer generation retires.

    Despite a huge teaching workforce and America’s status as a world power, its education system is still falling behind global standards. This is especially true in mathematics.

    In fact, a study commissioned by the U.S. government found that the average Japanese student could outperform nearly 98 percent of American students in math.

    Further research by the Dallas Times Herald concluded that out of eight countries that were examined in the study, Japan ranked first in math while the United States ranked last.

    The results of these studies were alarming to both politicians and businessmen, particularly because of the way the U.S. economy is changing, shifting from relying on production (such as the auto industry) to relying on information products (such as software and telecommunications).

    This shift means that math, science and engineering are more important now than ever.

    The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) compared the education systems in the United States, Germany and Japan in the 1990s and found vast differences in teaching methods.

    Thus if we want to improve the American education system, we need to start by improving our teaching.

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    What is Building a Better Teacher about?

    In Building a Better Teacher, you’ll discover what exactly makes a good teacher and how the art of teaching is practiced in the United States. It examines pervasive problems in the current system and offers theories on how these can be addressed. With impressive detail, the book takes a look at what makes certain schools successful and how we can all help improve our children’s – and the nation’s – future.

    Building a Better Teacher Review

    Building a Better Teacher (2014) by Elizabeth Green is a thought-provoking exploration of the challenges and possibilities in education. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a deep analysis of what makes an effective teacher, offering insights into the complex nature of teaching and learning.
    • By weaving together real-life stories and research, Green presents a compelling argument for the importance of teacher training and support.
    • With its engaging narratives and evidence-based approach, the book defies the typical stereotypes of educational literature, making it an engaging and enlightening read.

    Best quote from Building a Better Teacher

    More people teach in this country [America] than work at McDonalds, Wal-Mart and the U.S. Post Office combined.

    —Elizabeth Green
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    Who should read Building a Better Teacher?

    • Anyone interested in the latest thinking in education and education reform
    • Anyone who has school-age children and is frustrated with schooling today
    • Anyone interested in how education will shape the future of the United States

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Green is the cofounder of Chalkbeat, a non-profit education news organization. She was also a former Spencer Fellow at the Columbia School of Journalism, and has written for major publications, such as The New York Times.

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    Building a Better Teacher FAQs 

    What is the main message of Building a Better Teacher?

    The main message of Building a Better Teacher is the importance of improving teacher training and support to enhance student learning.

    How long does it take to read Building a Better Teacher?

    The reading time for Building a Better Teacher varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Building a Better Teacher a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Building a Better Teacher is worth reading because it provides valuable insights into the key factors that contribute to effective teaching and learning.

    Who is the author of Building a Better Teacher?

    Elizabeth Green is the author of Building a Better Teacher.