Monday, 22 February 2010

Good sense on teaching

I like the tone of this, from the introduction to Inglis, Fred, and Lesley Aers. Key Concepts in Education. London: Sage, 2008, p.4:

Then, if you are lucky, you will see the art of teaching in action - the art because the practice in question is being displayed with force and complexity, the life of the classroom is being directed with an assurance and subtlety intrinsic to art, the shape of the interior life of the lesson is made beautiful by the quiet animation of its participants, the smooth motion of their study from point to point, and all this lovely life advances to its goal, which is to discover the truthfulness for which class and teacher have set themselves to look.

Nobody talks about teaching like that these days. They never did, very much, in the past. But the predominance of what is called in these pages 'technicism', which is to say the supposition that teaching may be made foolproof by devising impersonal techniques and so-called 'skills' to cover all classroom and curricular life, has led to the treatment of all teachers as fools: creatures to be told what to do and never to be left alone to do it.

It isn't working. It'll go away. The aim of this book is to help dispel the inanities of technicism, the terrible tripe talked in the diction of the management of performance. The faith in this book is placed in certain inherent and indestructible attributes of the human mind which, when awoken, repel cant, mock jargon, deride cliché. These cheerfully oppositional forms of action are what one looks to find (ha!) in university departments of education. The key concepts are those which may so be orchestrated that they work on behalf of some of their best qualities - truth and beauty say; knowledge and freedom; equality and mind.

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