Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Bob Calder's picture

good versus bad teachers

When we discuss the overall quality of teachers, I think we first need to move the language to "effective versus ineffective." Second, we need to see teachers as a more or less random distribution of human performance. There will be an intransigent group near the bottom of the effectiveness distribution that will not move easily. As many as one quarter of the student population will be in a classroom with one of them at any given time. If you move into banking, IT, or retail, the reality of human performance has to be dealt with honestly to be successful. Refusing to acknowledge ignorance has consequences that we see in the current economic crisis.

There are also other issues. Let's say you or I have a classroom full of children who display a pathology that we are not equiped to cope with. We have that classroom full of children for at least a year, maybe more. When someone chooses to observe us during that class time, it will produce a predictably poor result.

At any rate, I agree wholeheartedly with you about keeping an environment of inquiry alive and allowing students to follow their natural curiosity with guided questioning for the teacher. The Harkness Method was used in my own schooling and I try to bring my students into my version of it as often as possible. Of course it helps to have a classroom full of students that buy into the idea of learning. ;-)


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
5 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.