Training the Teachers

"The best teachers are made, not born."
-The Economist, June 2016

A great article higlighting the importance of teachers and teacher practice on the quality of teaching and learning in the June Economist; I will take this opportunity to pick apart some of their arguements and offer some personal critical insight into this incredibly complex issue....

*"Like doctors on the wards of teaching hospitals, its students often train at excellent institutions, learning from experienced high-calibre peers. Their technique is calibrated, practised, coached and relentlessly assessed like that of a top-flight athlete."* While I certainly agree that micro-teaching and precise and thorough training is absolutely critical for "building" effective teachers, as normal when referring to pedagogical practice, this issue is much complex and very much not "black and white." What the Economist does not note is that doctors are working with/on willing subjects and do not have to face patients for an extended period that might be in their waiting room strongly against their own wishes. The Economist continues to mention that teaching is "not an inate gift...but an incredibly intricate craft..." However, again, this is a partial truth. Teaching relies on personality and engagement, in addition to pedagogical craft, and in addition to motivation and incentives-many of these aspects cannot simply be "crafted" but yet are the result of often uncontrollable external, environmental inputs.

"Are great teachers born or made?" Again, an oversimplification of an incredibly complex human issue; teachers are not static; teaching practice and teaching quality change over time, regress and progress dependent on individual human circumstances and inputs, which are often variable by day, if not by hours. Training will affect these practices and provide a higher standard basis; however, the best training can go out the window in a minute with an incredibly disruptive child or with a teacher who is simply "having a bad day" (or maybe who hasnt been paid in a few months). However, processes can be facilitated and teaching can be improved regardless of circumstance....over the next weeks I will be investigating some of these techniques, approaches and applied research in more depth.