Survey: Link Between Strong Schools, Teachers, Students Undeniable


Students who ho believed that their schools are "committed to building students' strengths" and who "have a teacher who makes them excited about the future" are almost "30 times as likely to be engaged learners as their peers who strongly disagree with both statements," according to Gallup's recently-released The State of America's Schools: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

The poll also showed that only about one-half of students felt that they were allowed to do what they are best at during the school day; while 7 in 10 K-12 students, said that they felt that their teachers were fully engaged in their classroom work. The 600,000 students, teachers and administrators who participated in the Gallup Student Poll section of the survey provided the following information:

  • Only 33% scored highly in the areas of hope engagement and well-being as related to general life success
  • Within the first five years of their careers, 40-50% of teachers leave the profession, citing a lack of autonomy
  • Most teachers agree that they get to do what they do best during a day of teaching
  • Teachers are last among 12 professional groups in thinking that their opinions count at work.
  • 29% of Americans believe that high school students are ready for college upon graduation.
  • 17% say high school graduates are prepared to join the workforce.
  • 37% of school superintendents strongly agree that their districts are well-governed by their school boards.
  • Those students who had the opportunity to develop real-world, problem-solving skills are twice as likely as the students who didn't to report higher-quality work lives
"If we're not thinking every day – as a principal, a teacher, a parent – about how we make our kids excited about the future, and connect what they're learning to the future, we're blowing it," Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education says. "If you care about student engagement, you have to care about teacher engagement and great principals."
Although a large number of schools chose to be part of the polling, the results are not representative of the entire United States student population. However, Shane J. Lopez, writing for the Gallup Business Journal, reports that the results were elicited from more than 500,000 young people and reveal how American school children look at their school experience, their lives, their future, and themselves.
Gallup says that each school year, the rating of students' engagement in school drops. However, students having even one teacher who is engaged and excited about the future plays a tremendous part in the hope, well-being and engagement of a student. About 6 in 10 students replied in the survey that they did have a teacher like this. The message to school leaders seems to be that hiring teachers who are motivated and encouraging; who connect with students' strengths and interests; who make learning exciting and inviting is crucial to developing students who want to be in school and who feel hopeful about the future.
Through developing students' strengths and promoting individualization, teachers can engage students in the learning process and build hope for the future. With increased student engagement comes deepened involvement and increased positive emotions — encouraging enhanced overall student well-being and a higher quality of life.
04 18, 2014
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