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Terrifying, indeed. Although there is something to be said about giving students more practical, hands-on instruction, schools of education are not in the business of producing Stepford Wifes (smile here, use names here), nor should they be. Without the deeper understanding of learning and even (gasp!) inquiry and theory, I can imagine the classroom could be an incredibly shallow place for learning and engagement.

Susan Adams

It is interesting that a nation obsessed with imitating the medical model is willing to forgo theory for teachers. In my professional development work with practicing teachers, I see this mentality creeping in as they react to increasing pressures all around them. Whenever I resist the pressure to teach strategies, in favor of a more thoughtful, reflective approach, I am met with frustration and sometimes anger at first. It takes time to remind people that the dialogic process not only "feels" good, but is productive and profitable in the long run, while feeding a strategy addiction leaves both learners and teachers hungry and cold in the long run.
I see no provision for developing this habit of mind and practice in the so-called "alternative" pathways to certification.


Every time I read about the supposed over-emphasis on theory, I think of Freire's assertion that action divorced from thought is indeed not only a fruitless but a dangerous thing. I suppose I could brush Freire's (and other's) assertions aside if I didn't see the results of such "alternative programs" in classrooms next to me each day. I teach alongside a good number of people who have taken alternative routes to the classroom. If they finally begin asking questions that relate to something other than procedures (and some do), it is often the deep and disturbing questions they ask - questions which have no definite answer but which call for reflection and a good dose of theory if one is to respond in sensitive and intelligent ways. Of course, this presumes that the goal is to produce sensitive and intelligent instructors - a presumption which, given the proposal at hand, I dare not make.

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