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teachers: will they ever learn?

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Learning is harder than teaching.

are you sure?

Usually teaching is a considered an advanced form of learning.  right?

Well, you can't teach without first learning. Very few learners learn enough to teach.

I think it is telling about who in America are teachers (on average). 

Clearly the article agrees with you:

HERE’S what the old debates have overlooked: How schools are organized, and what happens in classrooms, hasn’t changed much in the century since the Progressive Era. On the whole, we still have the same teachers, in the same roles, with the same level of knowledge, in the same schools, with the same materials, and much the same level of parental support.

Call it the industrial-factory model: power resides at the top, with state and district officials setting goals, providing money and holding teachers accountable for realizing predetermined ends. While rational on its face, in practice this system does not work well because teaching is a complex activity that is hard to direct and improve from afar. The factory model is appropriate to simple work that is easy to standardize; it is ill suited to disciplines like teaching that require considerable skill and discretion.

Teaching requires a professional model, like we have in medicine, law, engineering, accounting, architecture and many other fields. In these professions, consistency of quality is created less by holding individual practitioners accountable and more by building a body of knowledge, carefully training people in that knowledge, requiring them to show expertise before they become licensed, and then using their professions’ standards to guide their work.

By these criteria, American education is a failed profession. There is no widely agreed-upon knowledge base, training is brief or nonexistent, the criteria for passing licensing exams are much lower than in other fields, and there is little continuous professional guidance. It is not surprising, then, that researchers find wide variation in teaching skills across classrooms; in the absence of a system devoted to developing consistent expertise, we have teachers essentially winging it as they go along, with predictably uneven results.

Here's the problem. American teachers are babysat. They are not treated as professionals. You'd never go yell at your doctor or tell your family attorney he couldn't use a cell phone on work property. You wouldn't have a "bar" exam for a surgeon that didn't pertain to surgery. And which of these professionals would stay in field if there was zero opportunity for advancement? 

We are forced to teach trivia in many cases due to standardization and high stakes testing. Teacher prep programs emphasize silliness often. I considered those to be "double overload classes." Only one held value for me. 

I'm unique. I have advanced content degrees and two careers of experience. I cut my salary in half to teach because it was a mission I believed in. The sad part is that those who have other options are leaving the classroom in droves. Everyone I interview says "Oh, I'd never go back in the classroom." So they go into admin or guidance or ed tech. So, how can we improve an industry based on standards from industrialism where vision is penalized, people are afraid to take risks, and there is no room for advancement? Not sure. I wrote this the other day:

I'm pretty optimistic that I will make a difference in this field. It's chaos, though. I'd like to see reform be something that affects students positively and makes teaching a desirable career once more. Teaching, it seems, has the highest burnout rate in existence. It surpasses police and firemen. 

create your own school, dawn?  

It does feel like we live in an era where Dawn COULD create her own school.

But there are still many challenges to doing so. Mostly in terms of money and resistance from the establishment.

I am not smart enough to cut through the red tape. I have stories, better suited for g-chat. 

The problem with schools is that they teach in batches, which are inefficient. Knowledge walks out the door every time a cohort moves to the next subject. Knowledge is not passed around on a p2p basis and retained as a cultural trait.

You are correct. "Cohort" needs to be redefined, as well. Age is not critical, it's knowledge level. Also, it's integration of material--material is never linked and is not cross-referenced. This is a mistake. Teachers teach more and more to standardized tests which do not measure students effectively. We have the technology to measure students at every turn rather than through once a lifetime high-stakes tests. We fail to use it. We also have the ability to individualize, but we fail to do it because then we would not be able to measure. It's a systemic set of problems that the United States is unwilling to tackle. 

If this was someone's business, I predict it'd be handled quickly and efficiently. The correct data would be analyzed, and improvement would happen. 

I like what I think I heard Tristan say: what if we could teach students to teach each other?

To understand the problem, you must first understand the solution the current system was intended to be for the previous problem.  Factory schools were not intended to educate, they were intended to mold obedience. Look deeply at Horace Mann and the other early educationists, and the Prussian education model they were emulating and WHY they were emulating it.

The current education system is operating precisely as it was intended to. Teachers are as much it's victim as the students.

You are correct. But this doesn't make it any less forgivable. Solutions?

See, everyone's correct, but policy:) 

There are solutions.... but you're not gonna like it.... (b/c any solution is predicated upon destroying the power of the teachers unions)

Curious...why would you think I would not like such a solution? But, a solution could also involve restructuring the way classes were organized, teachers were certified, high-stakes testing was conducted or not connected…limitless solutions exist. There are several pieces to the puzzle. 

@Adam...students often do teach each other--tons of ways to organize classes to do this. We have upperclassmen helping to run labs and such, teaching the freshmen. It's often the case that people learn best by teaching. 

Right! Just as grad students teach undergrads in universities.

But I do have the sense that there's potential to do MORE.

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