Skip to:

Is Teaching More Like Baseball Or Basketball?


Esther--your points along these lines are completely on-target! I have long argued that creating effective teams of teachers is more analogous to building a basketball team rather than a baseball team. My favorite example is the San Antonio Spurs. They focus on (1) playing as a TEAM,(2) ensuring stability of coaches (leaders) and players (teachers),(3)empowering their players (teachers) to lead, and (4) drafting the best player for the TEAM rather than the best player AVAILABLE. This approach has arguably led to the most dominant franchise in basketball since the Bulls with Michael Jordan. But even the Bulls during their championship years followed much of the same formula. My colleagues Bruce Baker and Michelle D. Young took this approach in our study of effective principal prep programs in preparing principals effective in improving achievement through the building of teacher TEAMS. Fuller, E., Young, M., & Baker, B. D. (2010). Do principal preparation programs influence student achievement through the building of teacher-team qualifications by the principal? An exploratory analysis. Educational Administration Quarterly, 47(1):173-216.

Hah! I thought the comparison between baseball and basketball was going to be more along the lines of episodic sport with time to think in between plays, versus constant "flow" sport with decisions being made on the fly. There are elements of both in teaching, of course, but the wall-to-wall action of basketball is too grueling to make sense in a classroom or school day setting,


This web site and the information contained herein are provided as a service to those who are interested in the work of the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI). ASI makes no warranties, either express or implied, concerning the information contained on or linked from The visitor uses the information provided herein at his/her own risk. ASI, its officers, board members, agents, and employees specifically disclaim any and all liability from damages which may result from the utilization of the information provided herein. The content in the Shanker Blog may not necessarily reflect the views or official policy positions of ASI or any related entity or organization.