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Topic: Why schools used to be better
Replies: 25   Last Post: Mar 9, 2013 1:05 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Why schools used to be better
Posted: Mar 8, 2013 8:59 PM
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Joe Niederberger posted Mar 6, 2013 10:17 PM (GSC's remarks follow):
> Kirby says:
> >Choosing your education should be more like wine
> tasting,
> where you develop your palate and savor the
> alternatives. We usually don't expect parents /
> guardians to have to time to look at textbooks and
> compare them. They don't get to hear a lot of
> competing pitches either.
> That's a lovey thought. Imagine sauntering up to the
> math bar and inquiring about a bottle of "New Math",
> 1965 vintage, say, from Willamette Valley?
> Seriously though, this frmo Today's Friedman column:
> "We demand that plumbers and kindergarten teachers be
> certified to do what they do, but there is no
> requirement that college professors know how to
> teach. No more. The world of MOOCs [Massive Online
> Open Courses] is creating a competition that will
> force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy
> or face an online competitor."
> Any courses freely inspectable online will be subject
> to great scrutiny and competition. Can't be all bad.
> Cheers,
> Joe N

Thanks for that Joe (and Kirby too, for stimulating Joe's post).

About the need for "college professors (to) know how to teach" - a whole-hearted yes, indeed.

Of course, the undertanding of the 'learning+teaching' dyad for college professors is very different indeed from the understanding that school teachers need to have - but there ARE significant commonalities!

Prime amongst these commonalities being the need for the professor-teacher to understand/ recognise/ deal with whatever is going through his/her students' minds as he/she does his/her 'teaching'/ 'lecturing'/ 'presenting'/ whatever.

This need is at least as important as (probably more important then) the professor's "knowledge of subject matter"! I realise that this claim is likely to be controversial - but, after all, the prime responsibility of the 'teacher' (at any level) is to stimulate the students' interest in the knowledge being imparted. Particularly at college/graduate school level, the student would be able to pick up the needed knowledge of the specific subject from the library and a hundred other sources. [This is NOT AT ALL to claim that the teacher (at any level) does not need to have sound subject knowledge!!!]

Anna Roys has posted some very useful observations in this regard at this very thread.

And yes, as Joe claims, the world of MOOCs is likely to create, in due course, a revolution in the 'pedagogy of higher learning'.


Message was edited by: GS Chandy

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