Friday, January 12, 2007


There are two things that I'd like to mention today. I finally finished The Teaching Gap, and I find it full of very good observations and recommendations. It is sad that it doesn't seem to have been noticed sufficiently. I would like to give one more quote that is on a similar in spirit to one below that compares teaching to acting.

Doctors don't try to figure out a new technique or procedure for every patient who comes into their office; they begin by using the standard techniques and procedures based on the experience of many doctors over the years. Nobody considers this a way of doctor-proofing medicine, although they do have a name for the failure to use standard practices -- it's malpractice. The standard practices that doctors use contain the wisdom of the profession.

Last few days I have been observing a class in a near by high school. In this country teachers are not often observed, and from what I can tell even when they are, they do not seem to consider it an opportunity to improve their teaching. I asked the teacher in question today whether she would like or mind me making a couple of comments about what I've seen. Her immediate reaction was less than welcoming and she told me that she gets little defensive about it. On one hand, I suppose there is really no reason for me to think that what I have to say would improve student learning or her teaching. On the other hand, if I were her, I would at least want to know, so that I can judge myself whether the comments were warranted or not.

Another thing that book mentions, and that I am becoming more and more aware of is the following. A lot of teachers can explain, in theory, how they should be teaching. They also may think that they are doing what they know they should be doing. However, their practice is far from their words. I guess what I am trying to say is that how can one expect teachers to apply their theoretical knowledge if they don't know what the application should look like.

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