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Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students

Practice Transcending Theory


Edited By Mary Poplin and Claudia Bermudez

Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students contains the quintessential details of highly effective teachers working with students who live in poverty inside our public schools and community colleges. This book features the words and actions of the teachers that can inspire and direct any current or future teacher who wants to be great and be a part of inspiring young people to fulfill their potential. This is the grist we need to spark a reinvigorated critical national conversation about what it takes to really have highly effective teachers in low-income public schools and whether we have the moral courage to work as hard as they do to make educational equity a reality in our nation.

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3. “She wants us to be the best and change the world”: How Middle and High School Students Perceive Highly Effective Teachers (Wendy Moore / Claudia Bermúdez)


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3. “She wants us to be the best and change the world”: How Middle and High School Students Perceive Highly Effective Teachers


“A teacher isn’t someone who just teaches, a teacher connects with the students and teaches with heart and passion to make sure that [students] comprehend the content.”

—Middle School Student


This chapter captures students’ perceptions of what effective teachers know, do, and believe. Study data were collected through the use of a questionnaire, which was administered in the spring of 2016 to 975 middle school students and 424 high school students. The purpose of the student questionnaire was to understand what students perceive to be most prevalent knowledge, strategies, and dispositions possessed by highly effective teachers. Collecting anonymous student questionnaires produces rich data that provide firsthand accounts of teachers’ daily practices and dispositions. Additionally, they may be used as a component of teacher reflection, personal goal setting, and professional development planning. Unlike professors, policymakers, teachers, and administrators, students do not see teaching and learning through the lens of theories, terminologies, practices, and labels. Students’ anonymous survey responses can provide us with information outside of our preconceived theories, categories, and themes, which may very well be the type of clear and precise feedback needed to improve teachers’ practices. The student questionnaire consisted of three ← 39 | 40 → open-ended questions. The first question simply asked students why...

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