Bert Ernie wrote:1) You take a story on PROPOSED educational policy by one individual in France and use that to blanket an entire avocation --educators.
First, and a bit of a tangent, I find your use of avocation interesting here. Wikipedia defines it as:
"An avocation is an activity that one engages in as a hobby outside one's main occupation."
I do not think that is what you really meant.
In any event, the story from France mirrors something that has been going on in the US both formally and informally for at least a couple of years now.
It is not the only wrongheaded policy that educators (the policy makers/implementers. Not teachers) have been imposing on our schools for several decades. Another recent policy is the proposed implementation of student performance standards based on race. Another popular one is resegregation of schools by gender. The trend away from testing. Lots of others I could point out if you like.
I do agree with you that education is generally part of the solution. It is educators who are the problem. You will find no bigger advocate for education for everyone than myself. On the other hand, I strongly believe that the education system in the US is pretty well screwed.
Bert Ernie wrote:2) You assume that content experts are necessarily good teachers....that learning how to teach is less important than content knowledge. Wrong. The measure of good teaching is NOT how much content you deliver. It's how much is learned.
No, no, no and yes.
I do not assume that knowledge of content makes one a good teacher. I do believe, strongly, that absence of content knowledge will make one a bad teacher.
Think about universities, colleges, tech schools, professional development programs and so on. How many of these teachers have any pedagogical training at all? Some may have been to some faculty development sessions where they got a few hours of pointers, but that is not what I am talking about. Nor profs in teachers colleges and depts.
The first university class I ever taught, in 1974, I didn't even have any training as a student. I was most of the way to a 2 year degree. I was not only given no training, I was given only a rudimentary outline of what was to be covered and told to develop my own syllabus. (The course was Basic Refrigeration, for which I did have professional qualifications)
That was repeated 8 years later when I began teaching in the graduate program. In 22 years, the main guidelines I had in teaching were the catalog description and to give at least 1 exam per class.
My experience teaching at 4 different universities in 5 departments has been similar.
As you correctly point out, the goal is for the students to learn. It is unlikely you will find anyone in stronger agreement than me. One of the problems with K-12 education in the US is that the emphasis seems to be on how teachers teach. What degrees and training they have and so on.
One of the reasons I am so in favor of testing of all types is because it is only by testing the students can we tell if the students are learning.
One of the stunning things I found out when doing my ed degree was the trend in education away from testing of all types. Absent testing, teaching seems like bowling with a curtain across the alley. You roll the ball. You have no way of telling if it hit anything.
I liked the Finnish model we discussed a few weeks ago. A regular university degree, then a teaching degree on top. A bit much, perhaps, but at least they have the concept right.
Still a good piece though and certainly fodder for some interesting discussion.[/quote]