Analysing decument by using critical discourse analysis (CDA) Essay Example

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The ETS paper, Where we stand on teacher quality, is obviously an offshoot of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) – the 2002 law that is said to be the most important piece of federal legislation on education for the last thirty-five years (Peterson & West, 2003). NCLBA primarily aims to raise the bar of proficiency standards of students. And – importantly – it recognizes that the achievement of students crucially depends on teacher quality (Kuenzi, 2008). The ETS paper, thus, is an attempt to support the aspiration of the law as it crucially posits that teacher quality must be defined with the provisions of NCLBA in mind.

Indeed, the paper is for teachers; and, it intends to propose steps to further their personal and professional development. It is interesting, though, to note that the paper equates (teacher) quality with knowledge. The paper has use the words “knowledge” or “(to) know” at least eight times – not counting the terminologies that do have the same connotation, such as competence, qualification, proficiency, among others. While the paper has zeroed in on two aspects of teacher quality – i.e., knowing what to teach and knowing how to teach – it obviously tries to assimilate other aspects of teacher quality that could not have found their way into the discussion as the paper is understandably limited in scope.

To drive home the point that teacher quality is indeed non-negotiable element of the effort not to leave any child behind, the words “must” and “should” are used especially in providing the details about knowing what and how to teach. The good teacher must know the subjects they teach. Teachers must meet three general requirements. New elementary teachers must demonstrate their knowledge and teaching skills. Veteran teachers should demonstrate high level of proficiency in knowing what to teach and how to teach.

Even the structure of the paper is strongly indicative of the aforementioned point(s). The reading is structured in such a way that the teacher quality is focused on, after a briefer on the background of the paper is made. And, the ensuing discussion on teacher competence – as it is envisioned by the NCLBA – is made to delve into the requirements that teachers know the contents of their teaching and are adept to how they teach and manage the classroom. Evidenced by the allocation of (writing) space, the two aspects of teacher quality are discussed as if to show that both are equally important.

Despite the effective persuasion that the paper is characterized with, it is found to be overly polemical in justifying what it had to simplistically equate teacher quality to knowing the contents and methods of teaching. The paper tries to convince its readers that what it presents is actually based on research. It specifically cites the result of the public poll opinion on what constitutes important qualities of a good K-12 teacher. It takes note, however, that non-cognitive elements of teacher quality are being researched on and will eventually be factored in. These are persistence, enthusiasm, skills to communicate, and general perspective and appreciation over the potential of every student.


Kuenzi, J. (2008). A highly qualified teacher in every classroom: Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. In P.H. Beckhart (ed), No child left behind: issues and developments, p. 103-119. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Peterson, P.E. & West, M.R. (2003). No child left behind? The politics and practice of school accountability. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.