Book Review: Awards and Recognition for Exceptional Teachers K-12 and Community College Programs in the U.S.A., Canada and Other Countries

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Book review: Awards and Recognition for Exceptional Teachers K-12 and Community College Programs in the U.S.A., Canada and Other Countries by Hans A. Andrews Matilda Press, Ottawa, III., 2006, 370 pp. with index, $24.95(TM) soft cover.

If you want a detailed list of the teacher award and recognition programs currently being used at the K-12 level, then this book will provide an extensive compilation of these programs. Since there are fewer listings of awards and recognitions at the community college, it may be of less interest to those in higher education.

The first three chapters of the book provide background on the philosophy and objectives for award and recognition programs; the subsequent seven chapters provide a fairly exhaustive list of current teacher award and recognition programs. For each award and recognition program, the author provides information about the sponsor of the award, the rationale behind the creation of the award, the amount of any stipend, certificates received by recipients and details about past recipients. The author arranges the chapters so that one can easily index awards by whether or not they are national, state, individual school-level, Canadian, or other international programs.

A major weakness with the book is a failure by the author to support his main proposal that it is essential for institutions to increase the number of teacher award and recognition programs. The author even promises on the back cover that the reader will learn "Why all exceptional teachers must have local and state awards and recognition programs." Since there is little research throughout the book to substantiate his argument, one is left to simply trust on face value that award and recognition programs facilitate better teachers.

In the first chapter, the author does attempt to document favorable outcomes of award and recognition programs by citing research findings, but his coverage is limited to a few studies where teachers simply extol the virtues of the award bestowed upon them (i.e., Andrews, 1995). These studies were also plagued by extremely small sample sizes (e.g., N < 60) and restricted to a single school district and one community college. A majority of the cited data was based on interviews with awardees and thus savvy researchers will argue that award recipients might feel compelled to provide favorable feedback. Additional studies (i.e., Lacy, 1968; Sergiovianni, 1970) are presented as support for the benefit of award and recognition programs, but the studies simply surveyed teachers about what they viewed as "important to them in their work" or "provided a high-level of job satisfaction. …