“Hire teachers for what they can do, not for what they have done".
When looking for jobs in the teaching sector, the terms ‘experience’ and ‘expertise’ are commonly used by employers when they hire talents. However, do you know exactly what differentiates an expert teacher from an experienced one? Before that, let's understand what experience and expertise actually mean.
Experience is nothing but a skill or knowledge that is acquired over a period of years. Experience generally marks the time when we've been doing something, but it's a bad gauge of how well we actually do it. On the other hand, expertise can be acquired regardless of the number of years involved but only with practice. Expertise is actually a far better gauge of our competency or ability. Now, let’s move on to how expertise ensures better outcomes than experience:
How do expert teachers have the edge over experienced ones?
In John Hattie’s 2012 book - "Visible Learning for Teachers”, there's a statement that Experienced Teachers are different from Expert Teachers – and he backs it up with some research. John Hattie and his colleagues keep these two categories of teachers within the framework of kind of inspired and passionate teaching. Additionally, in building this culture of instructional excellence, Hattie says that all adults in the school should recognise that:
John makes the further statement that if a school has passionate and inspired teachers, then that should be their major promotional value. So, he shows that developing more Expert Teachers, not just Experienced Teachers, is fundamental to this school-wide goal.
John found that Expert Teachers offered the students more challenges and had a deeper grasp of the subject. The surface-level achievement results were about the same between Expert and Experienced Teachers, but the significant difference was in the more profound understanding. Additionally, he found that 74% of work samples in classrooms of expert teachers showed a more profound understanding; in contrast, only 29% did in Experienced Teacher classrooms. Students who are taught by Expert teachers have a better understanding of concepts and can think more coherently and abstractly.
How to Develop More Expertise as a Teacher?
1. Metacognitive Teaching
In class, use the Rule of Two for Skill Development and Guided Practice, explain the relevance of the lesson, bring out the concept with bulletproof definitions and examples, and provide closure before attempting independent practice or homework. This provides a deeper understanding that will influence the student to dig deeper.
Create engagement norms to create an interactive classroom experience. It will help you set consistent expectations for students to use the content and the academic language multiple a day. Also, it gives teachers insight into students’ needs.
3. Checking for Understanding
The method of checking for understanding gives the teacher immediate feedback on whether students are learning or not. It can help the teacher monitor the learning in real-time and adjust the lesson as required to efficiently meet the needs of the students.
4. Effective Feedback
The technique is to call on random students. This helps to make certain that every student is considering the answer to the question, and students are expected to engage with the academic content.
There have been several studies done which show how expertise is a far better standard than mere experience. The ultimate objective is the student’s overall academic development, to which apparently expert teachers contribute the most.
What are your thoughts on it?
Should experience be given more preference than expertise in a specific subject when schools hire talents?