Friday, August 28, 2009

Teaching healthy skepticism about teaching

I thought this was a satirical piece when I started reading it, but it's a true account of the system in place to provide "time-out" for incompetent teachers. Unfortunately, time-out can last for years while arduous trial proceedings drag on, and teachers get paid for every penny of their time. It does tie into the larger debate about tenure/how to evaluate quality in teachers, but it may make you wish you didn't know that things were run this way.

For more on issues in education that don't have an easy answer, this is a New York Times discussion from a few weeks ago. One commentator refers to the "charade" of higher education, while others laud education schools, or discuss TFA and teacher evaluation. A lot is covered, because there is a lot to cover. However, my lukewarm experience in grad school, combined with what many have termed my "zero tolerance policy on BS," leads me to applaud this writer's take on education degrees (made even more telling by the fact that he himself is a professor of education):

"A master’s degree in most subfields in education...adds little or nothing to students’ knowledge or practical skills...if you ask graduating master’s students [as opposed to undergrads] who have managed to escape indoctrination (because they are fortunately endowed with a wide streak of skepticism), they will tell you that they learned nothing new. Yes, many teachers with master’s degrees in education are more skilled teachers. But this is not because they got a master’s degree. They went for a master’s degree because they are intelligent, were already skilled teachers (self-taught), and had the gumption to go back to school."

For more on accidental indoctrination into silly things, as well as a good representation of what an ed class can feel like:

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