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bennett's picture

This quotation makes me

This quotation makes me wonder whether talking about "teaching" as a practice that can be taught to large aggregates of people, all of whom think about teaching as a thing that can be done in a right way or a wrong way, is even the best way to go about talking about teaching in the first place. Which isn't to say that there are no general principles required of every teacher (i.e., respect, concern, etc.) but that no two groups of students (irrespective even of their size) will ever be the same (even from day to day or moment to moment) in the sense of how they respond to any particular instruction, exercise, set of facts, etc. So teachers must be similarly "present"–they must be prepared to respond flexibly and creatively to the sometimes irreducibly novel behavior of their students. For example: in a culture that does not particularly value scholarship or erudition (doesn't ask for it from its public officials, doesn't endow it's public schools, etc.) how should a teacher make learning appealing to students (ostensibly there to learn, and be socialized, and to get out of the house I guess). I think that there is no one answer, except that "it depends"–it depends on the students and on the time and space. And power teaching does some of that work, maybe, but probably not all of it.


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