I wonder whether we all would have been better served if teaching the young - or anyone, actually - had been regarded as a trade rather than a profession? It would never have happened, so perhaps it's not that fruitful to think about, but I will have a bit of a go.
Teachers who were tradesmen or tradeswomen, who worked out of a trade union that was more like a guild than a pressure group would know more about the craft of teaching. Those who were skilled at the craft would be viewed with respect. As it stands now, the people in education who get the respect are precisely those who have driven the field into being regarded as a profession. Too often, those are people of theory or administration who no longer have any craft duties to judge them on. No one actually knows whether they can wire a house or decide which type of joint is best for a drawer anymore - if they ever could.
People who go into teaching are usually those who were good at books, and so respected others who were good at books, and things that they knew. Going into college they just naturally fell into the idea that these college instructors were the people who really knew something. But the college instructors were often mostly good at writing long essays that pleased others of their kind. As it goes up, it narrows into an entirely academic discipline.
Yet if there is any craft to be learned about cramming knowledge into young brains, it is much more likely to be found at the front-line level. Something similar happens in the clergy, where the care of souls is not likely to be improved by studying the influence of Czech esotericists on early Calvinism. The prestige in the profession is just about exactly where we don't want it to be.
Ah well. It was never going to happen, so it may be best to consider in a sci-fi way what will occur in other worlds when we colonise them instead.
I don't know if you are describing sci-fi or history, to a degree. It seems to me that the image of the one-room elementary school teacher, maybe even most elementary school teachers up to the unionization of the teaching profession, would fit the description of 'tradesperson' more than professional. The 'normal school' training that was the forerunner to college departments of education wasn't the same as a college or university education at the time. Primary-grade teachers were certainly respected but I don't think they were viewed quite on the same level as a doctor or a lawyer.
Primary-grade teachers were certainly respected but I don't think they were viewed quite on the same level as a doctor or a lawyer.
That was true 100-150 years ago, and it's true today.
As a former teacher, I prefer to look at teaching as a craft, as a trade. Perhaps this is in reaction to the Ed School theorists who consider teaching to be a profession. The Ed School theorists have little or no responsibility for successful teachers. To the degree a teacher has been successful, it is in spite of, not because of, the Ed School theorists that prospective teachers have to put with in order to get certified. (My aunt, who began her teaching career in the '30s, informed me that Ed Schools were just as useless back then as they are today.)
Every 5-10 years, a new unproven education theory THAT WILL EXPLAIN IT ALL sweeps through the Ed Schools. Prospective teachers get indoctrinated in the latest new, unproven theory THAT WILL EXPLAIN IT ALL. Ten years later, research shows that the unproven education theory THAT WILL EXPLAIN IT ALL is bunko. No problem for the Ed School theorists. The old unproven theory is dead. Long live the new unproven theory.
There is a need for pedagogy. It is NOT intuitively obvious how to best teach a given subject area to a given population. Unfortunately, instead of instructing prospective teachers on what has worked- or hasn't worked- in 2,500 years of formal classroom instruction, Ed Schools push the latest unproven theory THAT WILL EXPLAIN IT ALL and the latest Politically Correct catechism.
The old unproven theory is dead. Long live the new unproven theory. Loved this, and posted it on my FB wall, with vague attribution so no one would think it was my own.
Post a Comment