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Old 06-27-2011, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
There are poor teachers out there, we all know that. But making teaching degrees more difficult is not the answer. There is more to children not knowing basic skills, than "it is the teacher's fault".

I worked with many teachers, who were "subject matter experts", and horrible teachers. So, look at the skills needed for the job, before saying that teaching degrees need to be more difficult.

If anything else, I think that colleges often pass people in classes, who would make lousy teachers, and then...I had the "problem" when they were doing student teaching. I had one student, that I would NOT sign off on her paperwork, she was terrible, I could not even try to help her improve, because she would not listen to her problems, or take constructive information to improve. Her personality was not cut out to teach...She went to another school, they signed off her paperwork, after additional student teaching, but she was fired from her first job...could have predicted that one!
BUT you can teach the skills needed for teaching. You can't teach someone to be a subject matter expert.

IMO, there is one problem with bringing experts into the classroom and that is the solitary nature of teaching. People who aren't natural teachers need to learn by example. You can't do that standing in front of a room by yourself. IMO, teachers need to apprentice the way engineers do. There should be constant feedback and regular observation of peers who are considered experts.
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:08 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,440,508 times
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No, you can't teach someone to be a good teacher. I don't agree with that at all. There are some brilliant people, who are not teacher "material"... There are some personalities, that just can't work effectively with children, ALL children, not just the smart ones.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
3.0?? Are you insane? Whats up with this tolerance for low GPAs? More like 3.6.
Heh. I was just trying to be more realistic.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:32 PM
 
1,428 posts, read 2,771,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
No, you can't teach someone to be a good teacher. I don't agree with that at all. There are some brilliant people, who are not teacher "material"... There are some personalities, that just can't work effectively with children, ALL children, not just the smart ones.
Yes, but here's the thing: If you had to choose a teacher who was "good with kids" versus a teacher who knew her subject matter but was not spectacular with kids, I'd choose the latter. An ability to relate to kids but without the in-depth knowledge of subject matter is not much better than babysitting.
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,334,463 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
BUT you can teach the skills needed for teaching. You can't teach someone to be a subject matter expert.
Eh, don't totally agree. Some simply don't have the skills, and learning to go through the motions by rote is only going to get them so far. There is some degree of natural talent necessary to be a truly great educator, and knowing your content area and practicing and practicing being effective in front of a class isn't always going to make up for a lack of innate talent if it's not there. You can hone your teaching skills to a point, emulate the good things that you're able to observe in others, or attempt to, but at the end of the day, you either are a natural or you're not. It's okay, as not everyone is a natural when it comes to their field of choice. But you're certainly at your best and most effective when the skills you put to use every day are ones that are innate, and not ones that you have to beat into yourself.

I wholeheartedly agree that teachers need to be solid in their content area (which is why I'm glad that, as a sec. ed person, I was guaranteed the chance to major in my content area and study it in depth, unlike the el ed majors in my sister program). No matter how skilled you are at imparting knowledge, if you don't have the knowledge at your disposal to competently impart, all the skill in the world at making the material comprehensible and interesting won't count for much. But, conversely, knowing your content inside and out won't count for anything if you can't impart it for sh*t. You HAVE to have both to be effective.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:17 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,586,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
Yes, but here's the thing: If you had to choose a teacher who was "good with kids" versus a teacher who knew her subject matter but was not spectacular with kids, I'd choose the latter. An ability to relate to kids but without the in-depth knowledge of subject matter is not much better than babysitting.
I disagree with that. Just from a subject-matter learning standpoint, it runs contrary to what a lot of research shows - that children (and pretty much anyone) learn best when they feel comfortable. That means they are not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, ask questions, and so on. No one learns well in an uncomfortable environment. Depending on the age group, being comfortable might mean having a really nurturing, caring teacher, or it might mean just having a fair-minded teacher who treats everyone equally and doesn't scream.

Second, specifically with the youngest children, school is about a lot more than subject matter. Students are learning social skills, learning to be independent from parents, to trust other adults, and many other non-academic skills - that is a huge part of elementary school. A teacher who cannot relate well to children cannot be successful on any level in those grades.

For elementary school, I'd choose a total dummy with a heart of gold any day for my child, rather than a genius who was cold, uncaring or just plain mean. And I know we've all had experiences with horrible teachers who humiliated students or did other awful things, and it certainly doesn't matter in those cases how much knowledge about their subject they had. I know there is a kind of gradient where a compromise is possible, but as a rule I think teaching is much more about personality than subject knowledge - although both is obviously what makes a great teacher.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
No, you can't teach someone to be a good teacher. I don't agree with that at all. There are some brilliant people, who are not teacher "material"... There are some personalities, that just can't work effectively with children, ALL children, not just the smart ones.
I totally disagree. Take a look at teaching effectiveness related to years in teaching. There is a sharp increase in effectiveness during the first 5 years, followed by a significant increase in the next 5 years before effectiveness levels off. If teaching skills could not be taught, you wouldn't see this increase. If they were innate, you would simply see effectiveness as high in some candidates and low in others without this increase. The fact they see a very significant increase in the first 5 years says that teaching effectiveness IS a learnable skill.

I just finished my 3rd year teaching. Looking back, I can see why some would have questioned my decision that first year out. I don't think anyone will in two more years and the difference will be what I LEARNED about teaching along the way. I think what is wrong is how we teach teachers to teach. Putting them in isolation in front of a room leads to a trial and error approach and, IMO, that is unacceptable. Teachers should be taught to teach by experts who teach well.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:07 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Eh, don't totally agree. Some simply don't have the skills, and learning to go through the motions by rote is only going to get them so far. There is some degree of natural talent necessary to be a truly great educator, and knowing your content area and practicing and practicing being effective in front of a class isn't always going to make up for a lack of innate talent if it's not there. You can hone your teaching skills to a point, emulate the good things that you're able to observe in others, or attempt to, but at the end of the day, you either are a natural or you're not. It's okay, as not everyone is a natural when it comes to their field of choice. But you're certainly at your best and most effective when the skills you put to use every day are ones that are innate, and not ones that you have to beat into yourself.

I wholeheartedly agree that teachers need to be solid in their content area (which is why I'm glad that, as a sec. ed person, I was guaranteed the chance to major in my content area and study it in depth, unlike the el ed majors in my sister program). No matter how skilled you are at imparting knowledge, if you don't have the knowledge at your disposal to competently impart, all the skill in the world at making the material comprehensible and interesting won't count for much. But, conversely, knowing your content inside and out won't count for anything if you can't impart it for sh*t. You HAVE to have both to be effective.
I don't agree (see my post above). I think learning to teach is the easier part. The problem is the way we train teachers. We don't teach them to teach. Instead, we ASSume they already know how so we hand them the keys to their room and tell them to go teach. We should be teaching them at the feet of master teachers first the way they do in engineering and other professions. (I think you'll see fewer teachers quitting if you do this as well).

I'd like to see an engineering approach to training teachers. As an engineer, I was mentored, had my performance closely monitored and (the missing component in teaching) I learned by example by watching other engineers work while I was a novice engineer. As a teacher, I was handed the keys to my room and told to go teach as if I should already have the skills of an expert. IMO, there should be teaching apprenticeships (student teaching is so short and so dependent on the supervising teacher that it won't do) during which teachers learn to teach. Of course, just like in engineering, this means the school will have a lot invested in any one teacher by the time they're ready to fly solo. However, this is how the rest of industry trains people. You don't walk in and take over the job of a 20 year veteran. You step into it slowly. In teaching, they act like a degree should mean you're already there when the degree doesn't get you there.

The problem is we view teaching as a job anyone can do and as one that requires no specialized training. I'd disagree on both counts. I think you need to know you subject matter well in order to teach it (I don't care how good a teacher you are if you dont know your material, you cannot teach it.) and the art of teaching is something that needs to be learned.

I am still learning to teach yet all three years I've taught (two different schools) science scores have jumped. I can't say I'm responsible for the jumps but, obviously, I'm not killing it. Next year's scores will be interesting. In my first two years teaching, I had almost all of the juniors and there were significant jumps in science scores. In my third year, I had about 1/3 of the juniors and there was a small jump. Next year I will, again, have almost all of the juniors in my class. Due to the fact I get very little feedback on my teaching (the only thing I hear is that it is evident from my lectures that I have a high degree of subject matter expertise) I have no idea what I do right and what I do wrong (other than they want me to teach to the bottom of the class).

Now, from those who have worked long term with alt ed teachers, I hear that we gain effectiveness faster than a traditional path teacher. I've been told that a 3rd year teacher who came out of industry compares to a 5 year teacher with no professional experience and that a 5 year teacher from industry compares to a 10 year teacher with no industrial experience. There are a couple of districts around here that gobble up teachers who come out of industry because they've enjoyed so much success with them.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 06-28-2011 at 05:25 AM..
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
Reputation: 14495
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
I disagree with that. Just from a subject-matter learning standpoint, it runs contrary to what a lot of research shows - that children (and pretty much anyone) learn best when they feel comfortable. That means they are not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, ask questions, and so on. No one learns well in an uncomfortable environment. Depending on the age group, being comfortable might mean having a really nurturing, caring teacher, or it might mean just having a fair-minded teacher who treats everyone equally and doesn't scream.

Second, specifically with the youngest children, school is about a lot more than subject matter. Students are learning social skills, learning to be independent from parents, to trust other adults, and many other non-academic skills - that is a huge part of elementary school. A teacher who cannot relate well to children cannot be successful on any level in those grades.

For elementary school, I'd choose a total dummy with a heart of gold any day for my child, rather than a genius who was cold, uncaring or just plain mean. And I know we've all had experiences with horrible teachers who humiliated students or did other awful things, and it certainly doesn't matter in those cases how much knowledge about their subject they had. I know there is a kind of gradient where a compromise is possible, but as a rule I think teaching is much more about personality than subject knowledge - although both is obviously what makes a great teacher.
You cannot teach what you do not, yourself, know. A teacher must be, first and foremost, a subject matter expert. Now, once they are, I'd agree that a teacher that makes kids feel comfortable will be able to teach more but if my choice is between one teacher who makes kids comfortable but is not a subject matter exert or a subject matter expert who might make kids less comfortable, I'm going with the latter. The simple fact the subject matter expert knows more things to teach means that more learning can take place in their class. Maybe it will and maybe it won't but the possibility is there.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:32 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,440,508 times
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The woman I would not pass on her student teaching, she looked good on paper, had high marks in her college classes. Should have been no problem for her to do student teaching.
1. She came to work obviously hung over, said she had the "flu".
2. She treated my para's like maids, and was rude and dismissive to them.
3. She wrote IEP goals that were so long, and convoluted, that I had no clue what they meant.
4. She yelled at a mentally retarded student.
5. She got into an argument with a parent, basically telling the Mother that her son could not learn.
6. She took a cane away from a blind student, to "show" him how to do what she wanted him to do...demonstrated what she wanted him to do, walked 20 feet away, then expected him to do what she just showed him...ummm, the kid is BLIND!

I could go on and on...believe me! Please let me know where I was even supposed to start with teaching this woman to be a good teacher. It was not going to happen. She was a perfectionist, and thought she knew everything. It would not have mattered if she was Einstein. She was not a good teacher. She got irritated if children did not do what she told them to do, how she expected it to be done. She interrupted a student learning how to sort silverware so many times, the child forgot what the task was!

Just an example of a "smart" teacher.
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