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What The Wire can teach us about psychometrics

Alaka Holla's picture



In the first season of The Wire, an American crime drama television series, a young girl who lives in a poor and crime-ridden neighborhood asks Wallace, a teenaged drug dealer, for help with a math problem. It's a word problem that has multiple passengers getting on and off a bus and that asks how many passengers are on the bus at the end of it. The girl is lost. Wallace reframes the problem for her, describing a situation in which different buyers and sellers of crack cocaine take and give her different numbers of vials. When she answers correctly, Wallace asks her why she can't do the same problem when it's in her math book. She explains that if she gets the vial count wrong, the drug dealers will hurt her, so she must get it right.

Mi profesora Estela

Valeria Bolla's picture
Also available in: English
Photo credit World Bank

Cuando tenía 13 años, mi profesora de literatura, Estela, propuso a la clase el siguiente ejercicio:  observar dos dibujos y escribir una historia sobre cada uno de ellos. Miré los dibujos: uno era de un hombre con traje y corbata que cargaba un maletín y usaba un lindo reloj. El otro era del mismo hombre, pero tenía barba crecida, ropa rasgada y zapatos gastados. Escribí la primera historia sobre un hombre exitoso con una familia increíble, y la segunda sobre un hombre pobre, triste y sin amigos. Estela pareció decepcionada y me preguntó si las personas se definen por su ropa. Ese día, mi profesora habló sobre prejuicios y yo aprendí algo que no olvidaré jamás.

My teacher Estela

Valeria Bolla's picture
Also available in: Español
Photo credit World Bank

When I was 13, my literature teacher Estela asked the class to look at two drawings and write down a story about each one them. I looked at the drawings: one was of a man in a suit and tie who was carrying a suitcase and wearing a watch. The other was of the same man but he had a beard, torn clothes and broken shoes. I wrote the first story about a successful man with an amazing family, the second about a poor, sad man who had no friends. Estela seemed disappointed and asked me if people are defined by their clothes. That day, my teacher spoke about prejudices and I learned something that I won’t forget.

Ayudar a cada docente a dar lo mejor de sí

Jaime Saavedra's picture
Also available in: English | Français
Ecoles Oued Eddahab school in Kenitra, Morocco. Photo: World Bank

En todos los países hay maestros dedicados y entusiastas que enriquecen y transforman la vida de millones de chicos. Son héroes silenciosos que suelen no estar entrenados, no tener materiales didácticos adecuados, o no recibir reconocimiento por su trabajo. Son héroes que desafían las estadísticas y hacen posible que los chicos aprendan con alegría, rigor y propósito.

Helping Every Teacher Be Their Best

Jaime Saavedra's picture
Also available in: Español | Français
Ecoles Oued Eddahab school in Kenitra, Morocco. Photo: World Bank

In every country, there are dedicated and enthusiastic teachers who enrich and transform the lives of millions of children. Silent heroes who often lack proper training, teaching materials and are not recognized for their work. Heroes who defy the odds and make learning happen with passion, creativity and determination.

The School Leadership Crisis Part 2: From Administrators to Instructional Leaders

Tracy Wilichowski's picture

How can a school principal be transformed into an instructional leader who provides meaningful feedback and targeted coaching? In this blog, the second in a two-part series, we explore how principals can use observation and feedback to support teachers.

The School Leadership Crisis Part 1: Making Principals Work for Schools

Ezequiel Molina's picture
Worldwide, hundreds of millions of children reach young adulthood without acquiring even the most basic skills – a phenomenon dubbed "the global learning crisis." Concurrently, few of the principals who oversee these schools exercise strong management practices, which include setting learning targets, using data to guide instruction, observing classrooms, and providing feedback to teachers.