>I've been suggesting that "knowing how to teach" IMPLIES that they >know how to "relate to the learner's needs", something that's >all-too-often ignored in much of the 'conventional view of teaching'.
Of course, except for your "all-too-often ignored" comment. As with a responsible parent changing a baby's diaper or (after some comforting) leaving a distraught child on the first day of kindergarten, a responsible mathematics teacher knows the learner's needs at the grade-level and/or mathematics application in which he or she is supposed to be teaching. Where we separate our ways is that is NOT the teacher's responsibility to make sure the student has been properly placed. If his or her needs is first to learn 4th grade math but this is a 6th grade (or even algebra!) class, Biblical precedent or no, leaving the 29 or 39 (hopefully not 99) to "relate to that so-called learner's so-called needs" would be educational malpractice compounding the educational malpractice of placing the student there in the first place. And the reverse situation as well. A wise mathematics teacher relating my needs in my 7th and 8th grade years (even 6th but to a lesser extent), would have given me an algebra book to read and work through independently even if she would have been unable to answer my questions.
If the learner's "needs" are primarily to get a passing algebra score on a transcript independent of the student's background or career goals, the educational malfeasance may well rise to that of the district, the state, or even the entire "professional" mathematics education industry.