Thursday, November 4, 2010


In case you missed this gem From Larry Cuban- "Hats Off To Larry" - check out the post.

“The Flight of a Butterfly” or “The Flight of a Bullet”: The Impossible Dream of Transforming Teaching into a Science"

The point of all this is to be clear that, yes, some parts of teaching can be improved through scientific studies. Empirical findings time and again have improved teaching from decoding skills in reading to classroom management. But what has been learned from science is not the lion’s share of what constitutes daily teaching. As Philip Jackson said in 1968:

“teaching is an opportunistic process [where] … neither the teacher or [her] students can predict with any certainty exactly what will happen next. Plans are forever going awry and unexpected opportunities …are constantly emerging. The seasoned teacher seizes upon these opportunities and uses them to … his student’s advantage.”

Surprise and uncertainty greet teachers daily even for their best-planned lesson. Experienced teachers know this in their bones and in finessing the unpredictability of classroom life (or flopping) know that few researchers, especially among VAM-obsessed ones–care for such artistry because it cannot be connected to students’ test scores.

Those who still dream of engineering classrooms into rational places where empirically-derived prescriptions help teachers become effective have failed to grasp that daily teaching is a mix of artistry, science and uncertainty.

*Philip Jackson, Life in Classrooms, 1968, pp. 166-167."

1 comment:

Leondra said...

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
(Anonymous - sometime attributed to Einstein)