Reorganizing a school

to promote future success of students


Research published in 2002 compared youth traits to earnings at ages 35 and 53. It showed that the effects of IQ are lower than previously thought. Aspirations, socialization, and role models were found to be quite important. These findings match quite well with other research that success likely develops from: 1/3 ambition, 1/3 social skills, and up to 1/3 IQ.

But today, schools are focused primarily on student IQ or academic achievement. In elementary schools. programs like No Child Left Behind stress reading and math scores. High school curriculums are designed around college admissions course requirements. Even SAT tests are moving away from scholastic aptitudes to specific knowledge testing. Because of today's great emphasis on academics, schools are giving little attention to the traits that lead to 2/3 or more of success. That is unfortunate and should change.

Most of this Social Quotient website is devoted to measuring social skills and ambition, traits that are at least as important to success as IQ/ academics. Perhaps one reason why academic scores are so emphasized in schools and colleges is that we know a great deal about their measurement. Now that the well-researched and employer-welcomed SQ measure is available, schools can confidently evaluate the results of their non-academic efforts.

Teachers as role models

Elementary school teachers are well aware that academics instruction is just one part of their job. Classroom discipline, motivation, and social skills training can be of even greater importance. Some observers have even proposed that lagging test scores in minority communities are largely due to difficulties in classroom management

Students look to their teachers as important role models, often copying more what they do than what the teacher's rules are. In classrooms with instructional aides, students have more than one adult role model. Sometimes a low paid aide is a better role model than the certificated teacher. Most aides can easily master elementary school subject matter, and many are just as effective as teachers in dealing one-on-one or with small groups of students. Student learning is often very much tied to the emotional bond that an adult makes with a student.

Teachers as curriculum planners

The primary job of teachers is planning for the activities of their students. As with medical assistants or paralegals, it is often efficient to have others do many of the routine tasks. But the professional teacher is in overall charge. For social skills and values training, resources like aides or instructional TV can be particularly useful. Aides often have parenting, common-sense type skills that are at least as effective as those of the teacher.

Maximizing a school's effectiveness

For both academics and social skills training, having increased numbers of adults in schools can be of real value to students. Added role models increases student chances to relate to an adult who looks and talks like them. These additional personnel need not be budget busters, particularly if low-prices or volunteer aides replace certificated teachers. At all elementary and high school levels, there is no reason why one teacher could not manage the curriculum program for 100 or more students. Quality colleges manage quite well this way, often with many instructional assistants, paper graders, etc, for each well paid professor.

Instructional TV and computer-assisted instruction could function effectively for up to half of a typical public school day. Large numbers of students could be served at such times by a few technicians. The other half of a school day could be filled with small group discussions on the material covered on TV or computers, discussions led by instructional aides. Teachers would become primarily instructional managers. Fewer of them would be needed than now, and teacher salaries could rise proportionately to match their increased responsibilities. In their new role, teachers could find the respect and type of responsibility that other professionals enjoy.

Go to: Social skills instruction boosts student achievement, especially for minoriities

Go to Technology for revitalizing schools

Go to: Research findings on what leads to success (IQ and non-IQ factors)

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