Effective Teachers: Did your Master's degree help? or are we victims of education inflation?

In Liberating Learning, Moe and Chubb (2009) suggest that "effective teachers are not easily identified from their credentials, education, or experience (beyond the first few years of teaching)" (95). 

Many educators now possess (multiple) Master's or PhDs. To what extent did you degree improve your instruction? How do you know? Are teachers the victims of education inflation?

Tags: education, effectiveness, high, inflation, quality, teacher, teachers

Views: 351

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm getting a master's now after teaching for 6 years.  I'm in a special program that was an extension of my National Board certification process.  Essentially I received masters credit for the support program I went through and now the courses are extending that work.  I would say that it is extremely helpful and impacting my teaching.  I don't think that's the case with all programs.  I put a lot in, so I get a lot out of it.  Also, not the case with everyone.  The degree's impact on instruction is only as good as the program and the individual professors.  I can say without a doubt that going through National Board certification completely impacted my teaching and will continue to do so for many years.  That is something that more people should consider pursuing.
Hi Katie, great response. From what I've seen of Board Certification (and we dont' have this in Canada), I think it's great. I was recently involved in writing a Teacher Professional Growth and Evaluation Program, and I know that the Board model was something I had in mind. Clearly, Board certification requires hands on experience and much reflection; in short, it seems very much a like a clinical model embedded in practice, something that education schools should emulate.
Jeff-This is a powerful argument.I think it would vary with countries or better still with you educational system and your profession. For instance a surgeon who like to teach in a medical school would enroll for a certificate course in teaching and learning- and here he will be equipped with the basic of teaching and learning including some micro teaching skills, problem based curriculum depending on the teaching strategy approach adopted by the school. Later if the same Surgeon feels he want to cover more in education- in our country and Scotland they could take a Masters and even phd. I still that is what happens in health professionals.
I finished my second Masters this fall in Instructional Technology and have been teaching for 8 years.  I teach in NY and got my Masters in Science Education before I began teaching.  Teaching while getting your degree, though difficult, makes what you learn much more meaningful and practical.  When looking for a school I focused on attending a school with a reputable, accredited program that was entirely online.  My degree definitely improved my instruction and enabled me to conduct better professional development for my district.  I gained specific skills with technology that I didn't have before (photoshop, web page development) and practice with technology based standards along with related lesson development.  I have no quantitative evidence as in pre-post tests, but the number of new, fun, and innovation lessons I use at least doubled.

Graduate school, for me, was about talking to colleagues and sharing tips, tricks, best practices, etc.


I have 3 Masters, all in education (general ed, instructional tech, ed admin) and the classes themselves didn't offer me a whole lot. Gave me some background in theory and history (which I feel are important) but they gave me the opportunity to discuss real world situations, in almost real time, with colleagues.


I did all my education course work at the graduate level, while teaching. I came to the profession from the high-tech/media sector and I found great value in teaching all day and then going to class and being able to share my experiences and have colleagues in much the same situation help me to reflect, evaluate, plan, etc.


I tend to be a bit of a contradiction. I think college and graduate school are amazing things that need to be experienced but I think the classes, in general, are pretty worthless. What I find valuable are the connections, experiences, and different lense they offer and provide that I couldn't get by working alone.

A 3rd grade teacher I work with has this quote on her wall:

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.






After my one-year Teaching English as a Second Language certificate program, I could have continued for a second year in order to obtain a Master's in Teaching. I declined at that time, thinking that it would have been absurd to have a Master's in Teaching without ever having spent any significant time in a classroom.  Some 20 years later, I chose a program in Instructional/Educational Technology and did obtain a Master's. I think I was right with both choices.  While not every class that was required for the Master's in Instructional Technology caused a subsequent improvement in my instruction, some had a lasting impact.  In particular, the one or two instructors that taught with technology tools (e.g. using a class blog, or having students respond to online discussions) forced us to become acquainted with such tools from the perspectives of both teacher and student. In the intervening time, I have learned much more about a wide range of technology tools and how to implement technology in instruction on my own than I learned in the program, but I credit the program with providing a good framework and understanding of the implementation, uses and philosophical underpinnings of technology in education.

My Master's was in Curriculum and Instruction with Technology.  In some ways, it helped improve my teaching, because I started to think of new ways of doing things.  However, just like most education classes, it wasn't that helpful.  On the positive side of things, I felt that the graduate classes were more focused on the way things are, whereas my undergraduate education program was more focused on how the professors thought things were.  (I actually had a professor tell us that to make a high school senior stop talking in class, all we had to do was place a hand on their shoulder, and they'd stop.  We cheerfully informed her that the senior would most likely grasp our hand and say something like "How you doing, sweetheart?")


I have found that I learned far more about teaching just by teaching, than I ever did from taking classes.  

I think that the usefulness is dependent upon the program.  For my M.S. program (Ed Tech) my professors were ardent practitioners of authentic learning.  They made it very clear that whatever we chose to do (for our various tech projects/assignments) should be connected to what we're doing in the classroom with our students otherwise it would not be meaningful for anyone.  Now, that posed a problem for the new teachers in the program who were substitutes or who did not have a classroom at all, but for me, it was an invaluable experience.  I got a lot more out of that program than I thought I would.  Everything that I did or created in that class was integrated in some form into my curriculum.  My students were learning right along with me.  I don't know how many programs out there are as relevant and flexible as the one I was in, but if you're looking for a master's program in Ed Tech and if you're not afraid of hard work, check out California State University, Fullerton's M.S. Program in Ed Tech.  It's a fully online program with a couple of really great professors.  =)  





Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.





© 2024   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service