If you had to choose between sending your own young child to primary School A or School B, which would you choose?
School A and School B are identical in every way – apart from one significant difference.
Primary (Elementary) School A has a traditional setup with the main ‘Homeroom Teacher’ being responsible for teaching most of the learning content. Students have the same teacher for a whole year.
School B, is different because teachers are specialized in their fields and students rotate through highly trained, content-experts. For example, Maths is taught by specialists maths teachers and reading and writing skills are taught by teachers with a Masters or PhD in English.
If you were a parent whose primary concern was the wellbeing and social-emotional development of your child, which school should you choose? What about if you were a parent whose primary concern was the academic development of your child, which school then?
The answer to both questions, according to a 2018 study from Harvard University, is School A. In a very interesting and telling experiment, students who, for two years, were taught by a variety of expert teachers rather than a single homeroom teacher performed worse academically and showed more serious behavioural problems.
This is yet another piece of empirical evidence highlighting what we all know, but sometimes forget: we teach children…not content. Nothing matters more than our relationship with each student.