Dean, Curry School of Education
University of Virginia
Bob Pianta is dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, the Novartis professor of education, professor of psychology and founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning. Bob’s research and policy interests focus on the measurement and production of effective teaching in classrooms from preschool to high school. Bob has published more than 300 scholarly papers and more than a half dozen books. He is the senior author and developer of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, a method for assessing teacher/classroom quality being used in many district- state- and national-level applications. Bob is co-director of the University of Virginia’s Interdisciplinary Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Training Programs in Education Sciences.
I think schools of education have enormous potential for good, and right now, we just aren’t delivering on that promise as much as we need to.
I think schools of education have enormous potential for good, and right now, we just aren’t delivering on that promise as much as we need to. I think it’s important that we take responsibility for realizing that promise, rather than complaining or always reacting to what external forces are in play. I also think it’s a critical time for schools of education, and if we don’t get this right, we will see much bigger changes downstream that will greatly reduce our footprint in the sector.
During an individualized education program (IEP) meeting during my first year as a teacher, the team had presented results of assessments of a sixth grader in my class whose parents were deceased and was being raised by his uncle, who was at the meeting. At some point, I mentioned that this boy was a terrific young person and that I thought some of his learning and emotional concerns may have had to do with coping with the loss of his parents. After the meeting, the uncle hugged me and thanked me for understanding his nephew. I realized relationships were important.
I think we are seeing just the beginning of what can be accomplished in terms of training teachers with the relevant skills and knowledge for success in the classroom, and then proving that solid and substantial training experiences for teacher candidates matter for student learning. I think there is real promise in applications of technology, and I think the policy environment has the potential to provide the right structures and incentives for promoting effectiveness.