logo - runeman.org


to you, from me.

Chide me if you will.

All photos in this blog are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, unless specifically stated otherwise. If something written seems worth your time and effort, use it under the same license.

This is an archived blog. Those interested in my current blogging, feel free to visit
Runemanations where new posts will go.

Sat, 01 Mar 2014

Charging into Professional Development

professional development

Tweets are short, but that might be all a person needs to jiggle a thought loose. After reading Tom Whitby's statement above, I wondered if teachers might be in the same bind as the students they teach.

Teachers guide their students toward mastery of a curriculum, and the best teachers engage the majority of their students with good pedagogy, story telling, humor, challenge-and-answer, etc.

That could actually be part of the problem.

Teachers themselves are products of a system in which learning is guided by a long series of professional educators. When they were themselves students, today's teachers developed the habits of focus which made them successful in the system. They focused on the words of a lecturing teacher. They focused on the words in a textbook chapter and the answers asked at the end of that chapter. They focused on the review and on the test which assessed their grasp of the material. They avoided the dangers of wandering attention and stayed "on task" which made their grades good enough to get into a college. College offered some flexibility, but teachers were guided to the pre-service options like teaching methods courses after their focus on a major.

Along the way, how much self-initiated learning occured?

Certainly some, but was it actually associated with the person's professional goals to become a teacher?

More importantly, was the learning un-guided?

Do teachers avoid being responsible for their own goals and their own drive for mastery of new skills because they don't know how?

To be a self starter, a person needs to know how to succeed without structure and with repeated sideslips and even routine failures.

"Failure" is a bad word in education. Failure is at the opposite end of the grading curve, far from the desirable A. Overcoming failure isn't the goal in most grading situations. Getting the best grade you can is the goal. Taking risks and failing is not really part of the structure of school. When students take risks, they are often scheduled to visit the assistant principal, a discipline event.

Academics are about avoiding failure.

If teachers have been successful students, why would they be self starters?

Is this too broad an indictment? Tell me how. Tell all of us how to fix it.

posted at: 19:47 | path: | permanent link to this entry