Most new teachers enter the classroom with a limited set of pedagogical skills, since they get little experience beforehand, and most education courses don’t say much about how you run a class. Then teachers get little ongoing, sustained training to help them improve. If American teachers—unlike athletes or manufacturing workers—haven’t got much better over the past three decades, it’s largely because their training hasn’t, either.
Some educational reformers in the United States insist that we don’t need to worry about training: firing all the bad teachers would be enough. Yet countries that perform exceptionally well in international comparisons—among them Finland, Japan, and Canada—all take teacher training extremely seriously. They train teachers rigorously before they get in the classroom, and they make sure that the training continues throughout their work lives.
James Surowiecki, “Better All The Time”, The New York Times Magazine (10 November 2014), 85.