Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaching, Parenting and Learning: what are the connections?

You have probably seen the cartoon about a teacher-parent conference:
Frame 1-- Teacher and parent think about their successful student’s achievements.
Teacher: It’s good teaching.

Parent: it’s heredity!

Frame 2: -- Teacher and parent think about their failing student’s failures.
Teacher: It’s heredity!

Parent: it’s bad teaching!
How does what teachers and parents do connect with what students learn? Do teachers really influence the future like the slogan has it? Is parent influence really so important?

Bad teaching, so we are often told in the mass media, has helped bring about the trade deficit, increase in juvenile crime or other calamities. And parents are to blame as well.

But why not blame someone or something else? Why should educators, and parents, even, be held even partly responsible?

Can we clarify what it is reasonable to hold teachers and parents accountable for? A clearer idea of what notions like cause and effect are might help.

To continue this discussion see Causal Fallacies in Education