Thursday, August 5, 2010

If Only Educators Were Rocket Scientists…

It has long been taught by professors, professed by teachers, and parroted by politicians that most teaching is learned on the job, not in college. Well, one could argue, if trial-and-error teacher education is adequate, why not make it the law of the land? One of H.L. Mencken's zingers applies here, male chauvinism notwithstanding:

When the American pedagogue became a professional, and began to acquire a huge armamentarium of technic, the trade of teaching declined, for only inferior men were willing to undergo a long training in obvious balderdash.

I saw a good example of such balderdash at a teacher education workshop awhile back. After an interminable series of (presumably) unpaid advertisements for inferior software and spurious online services, we were compelled to play cutesy motivational games that supposedly enable limited-English children to learn, all of which ended in a bizarre kind of group hokey-pokey. I'm sorry, but if we are denying teaching certificates to intelligent young people because they refuse to submit to four years of that kind of . . . balderdash, Mencken is right and we are wrong.

To examine these issues further, see Highly Educated Teachers: is this what we need?


-- WAC

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