Education: science, profession or...

Thursday, 17 September 2009 18:13 Vjekoslav Hlede
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Oops, I heard it again. It is like that Breathy Spears song: Oops!...I Did It Again. It is not very logical, but people are singing it.

Yes, twice last week I heard something like:
All you need to be a good teacher is to follow your instincts/feelings.
Hmm… how logical is that statement?

Not very.

Teaching as a science and profession has become very sophisticated- much like medicine. Unfortunately, it is very often undervalued: just like medicine was undervalued during the middle ages.

For example our university professors are, very often, world-renowned experts in the subject they teach. but about teaching and educational technology?… no, they usually don’t know much about it. Sometimes nothing at all.

How could this be?

Well, until the second half of the 20th century, everything was about information and transmitting that information. So we made big classrooms where one person is speaking (teaching/preaching) and the rest of us, sometimes hundreds, are listening (or doing something else, maybe napping). At the time we did not have a better way to disseminate that information. And we thought that information = knowledge.

Now we have much better ways to manage information and we know that there is a big difference between information and knowledge. Therefore now a teacher who serves just as a source of data is ‘out of date’. I mean, if a student needs a data source, she can google or pay to access the best databases and find much better data than the teacher knows.

So, let’s go back to our song:
What you need to be a good teacher is
What you need to be a good teacher is
To know how to teach
Good teachers must have knowledge about how to teach kids in 21 century, how to use blogs, wikis…and how to make learning fun.

Right??