Malcolm Gladwell's recent piece in the New Yorker challenges current educational dogma whose standards are more about explicit test scores than the implicit interactional habits of teachers.
Gladwell weaves a compelling and emerging voice of evidence that dramatic differences in actual learning student gain annually is not a function of funding, teacher educational levels or performance, or even relative class sizes. It's a function of how well teachers attend to and engage the real time experience of students. The frequency and personalization of affirming feedback holds a prime place in engagement. Teacher monologues of any kind epitomizes lack of engagement, which shows up in immediate behaviors and learning gained.
According to research from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, from which Gladwell focuses his commentary, Of all the teacher elements analyzed by the Virginia group, feedback—a direct, personal response by a teacher to a specific statement by a student—seems to be most closely linked to academic success.
It's gratifying to see research validating the premise of my book last year, The Power Of Circles, where I argue that engagement is the ultimate factor in performance whether we're considering educational, organizational or community contexts. If we now need standards, they have to do less with only symptomatic student test scores and more inclusively with the root cause ability of teachers to use presence and high quality feedback in their practice.