Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ed. School Madman

Though I often find George Will's arguments facile and/or under-reasoned (as this one is, in some ways), in this article about Teach for America, he makes an oblique claim that I can validate from personal experience.

He writes, "TFA has become a flourishing reproach to departments and schools of education. It pours talent into the educational system - 80 percent of its teachers are in traditional public schools - talent that flows around the barriers of the credentialing process."

I've met few teachers who found their education school experience...well, edifying.

To give but one example, not one teacher I've asked failed to notice that Ed. school professors consistently do all manner of things that they themselves were constantly telling us--the would-be teachers--not to do.

The most glaring manifestation of this was their drumming into us that lecturing is a bad mode for creating student learning. They'd talk and talk and talk about that. They apparently thought that unwritten, unprepared talking didn't count as lecturing, so their lecture-like presentation did not really violate their own admonition. I can't be sure, since (they were right) I stopped paying attention after a few minutes.

Maybe that was all an elaborately planned experiential learning demonstration. "See, I just did to you what you shouldn't do, and you lived out what your students will do, also." If so, they should have told me such practice is to point out to students what they're supposed to be learning.

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