Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blocking School Reform: “scientific” metaphors

...a faith in our capacity for limitless self-improvement (is) just as much a wide-eyed superstition as a faith in leprechauns.”
― Terry Eagleton
In the American public school tradition, teaching is primarily a performance art that depends on the teacher’s skill at imparting information, skills and attitudes. But, often overlooked, it also depends on the realities of the classroom's group dynamics as well as by many other factors outside the classroom and even, the school.

The misconception among many educators, of course, is that their professional training is mainly scientific. Teacher preparation is chock full of references to treatments, learner characteristics, outcomes and the like. What, in fact, there is of science that informs pedagogy, is more likely than not to be washed out by the fads and political agendas of those who directly control our schools.

Educators are seldom taught to think carefully and analytically about the foundations of their practice and the pressures and rewards of the workplace dissuade them from criticism of the status quo.

To examine these issues further, see Public School Reform: Mired in Metaphor

-Cordially,
- EGR