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There is nothing inherently anti-intellectual about arguing that some things can only be mastered by doing them. It is readily accepted by most that ten hours on the tennis court beats twenty in an auditorium if you want to be a professional tennis player. Why is it so difficult to accept an equivalent dictum for teaching?

I think it has to do with a certain snobbishness. Craftsmanship and apprenticeship is associated with manual labor, and teaching is a leisure class profession.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 10th, 2014 at 03:13:02 PM EST
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Why is it so difficult to accept an equivalent dictum for teaching?

Because teaching is rather more complicated than playing tennis; as I noted, Zwackus had acknowledged that some of the varied skills involved in teaching might well require some "book-learning". The varied syllabus of the Finnish teaching education system reflects this. It's quite reasonable to suppose that it might be worth studying what has been learned about the various kinds of skills and knowledge involved in teaching - alongside practical experience of attempting to apply it. The results achieved by the Finnish teacher education system would seem to provide support for that kind of system. I did include some information about it so that we might go beyond personal opinion.

But the "dictum" itself is simplistic; most professional tennis players have coaches who do not just ensure that the player spends a certain amount of time on court practising. In fact they engage in a form of teaching, often with an emphasis on psychology, it also involves studying the games of rival players, analysing strengths and weaknesses, etc.

Coaches, athletes and sports psychologists are convinced that the difference between winning and losing for top-level athletes is largely a mental difference.

While the full benefits of sports psychologists may one day be available to recreational athletes, at present they are limited almost entirely to professional and world-class competitors.

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/11/sports/on-your-own-sports-psychology-becoming-the-locker-room-s-la test-rage.html


I think it has to do with a certain snobbishness. Craftsmanship and apprenticeship is associated with manual labor, and teaching is a leisure class profession.

There certainly is such snobbishness, but then, as rifek said, there is anti-intellectualism too, and not only in the US; it's quite strong in the UK. So, rather than depend on such prejudices, it would seem sensible to look at some evidence, as I did in citing the success in education of a country like Finland. This seems to me a good example in that not only does it achieve top results in the PISA international survey, it does it without endless training to take tests; it is about what education should be about "we prepare children to learn how to learn":


There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students' senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions. Finland's schools are publicly funded. The people in the government agencies running them, from national officials to local authorities, are educators, not business people, military leaders or career politicians. Every school has the same national goals and draws from the same pool of university-trained educators.
...

"We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test," said Pasi Sahlberg, a former math and physics teacher who is now in Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture. "We are not much interested in PISA. It's not what we are about."

...
the Finns seem to be onto something. Neighboring Norway, a country of similar size, embraces education policies similar to those in the United States. It employs standardized exams and teachers without master's degrees. And like America, Norway's PISA scores have been stalled in the middle ranges for the better part of a decade.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 11th, 2014 at 04:30:20 PM EST
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