Friday, May 19, 2017

A Reader Writes... Everyone Can't Teach

A new reader sent in the following concern.

Mr. Cain

Recently, my campus used your book (The Fundamental 5: Cain & Laird) for a book study.  I think I have a complaint / critique.

You and Laird seem to imply that quality teaching is quantifiable.  And because it is quantifiable, any Jane or Joe can do it as long as they follow your formula (The Fundamental 5). I find this to be absolute nonsense.

SC Response
Interesting critique.  And worthy of an answer.

First, yes, quality teaching is quantifiable. Even though there are elements of teaching that can’t be quantified.  A level of “jerkness” comes to mind as a non-quantified element. For example, we teach the same thing, the same way. Except I’m a jerk and you are not. Odds are, your students will be more successful than mine.

Now when you spend an extensive time studying exceptional teachers, average teachers and struggling teachers you can observe patterns and frequencies of specific practices.  That is the story of The Fundamental 5.  The pattern of those practices (The Fundamental 5) was much more pronounced in the classrooms of teachers who were having more success than their peers.

We didn’t invent The Fundamental 5. We weren't even looking for it.  We just noticed the data anomaly and decided to “pull the string.”  The amazing thing is when less successful teachers began to use the identified practices with greater frequency, the change in student performance was noticeable.  It’s crazy.  But evidently, when you use better practice more often, students do better. Go figure.

However, just because we can identify effective practice doesn’t mean just anyone can use them effectively.  Bottom line, I agree with you, NOT EVERYONE CAN TEACH. Regardless what anti-public school politicians promote.  But that fact (not everyone can teach) is separate and independent from this fact, “Everyone who can teach, can teach better.”

That is why we wrote the book.      

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn...
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! 
  • Upcoming Conference Presentations: Texas ASCD Summer Conference, Virginia Middle and High School Principals Conference; The National Principals Conference; The Fundamental 5 National Summit (Keynote) 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

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