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Re: [OT] Teachers (Was:Re: King Donald)

On 2017-02-02 17:34, Mike Easter wrote:
Wolf K. wrote:
Disaster Master wrote:

In addition we would need to abolish Teachers Unions, and engage in some
form of merit system.

There is, it's called the salary grid: the rows align with
qualifications, the columns with years of experience.

Years of experience and training don't necessarily reflect the aptitude
of the teacher to teach effectively.

a) Teachers who can't teach effectively usually quit within a year or two.
b) There is no universal method of effective teaching. What works with one class won't work with another. What works well with one subject won't work well with another. What works well with one student won't work well with another. So that's eight combinations of in/effective. And that's just the obvious ones. Personally, the only ineffective teacher I ever knew was an education student whose practice teaching I was supervising. He never did go into teaching.

It is hard to believe that with all of the 'structure' and associated
expenses surrounding the teaching business/profession, that that
structure can't be made to be effective at evaluating how adept a
teacher is at accomplishing teaching goals.

Well, there is one, but it's useless: standardised objective testing. It tests the student's ability to perform on a standardised test. It works to assess the teacher's effectiveness, because standardised objective tests are boring, and you know perfectly well that learning something that bores you is a pain in the ass.

More seriously, there is a method to assess a teacher's effectiveness. It's labour and time intensive, though, requiring both collegial and supervisory observation. But it works, because it's diagnostic, summative, and remedial.

If your school district can't fire "ineffective" teachers as fast as you'd like, one reason is that they can't replace them. I mean, the critics of the education system aren't exactly lining up to offer their expertise and skills. So where are the replacements for all those ineffective teachers coming from?

The more likely reason is that it's very difficult to document the cause. A teacher may be summarily dismissed (or at least removed from the classroom) for any of a number of acts, depending on jurisdiction, but if you want to dismiss for ineffective teaching, you have to show that it is in fact ineffective. That's not nearly as easy to do as you may believe. See anecdote below for a clue to why that's so.

We all know there is enormous variability in the substrate of student
makeup and ongoing variability in defining exactly what should be taught
and tremendous corruption in the acquisition of materials to teach with,
but still, the concept of 'merit' should be based on some important
metric besides how many years some incompetent teacher has been
functioning incompetently or how much time the same inept person decided
to spend in school instead of or in addition to actually teaching.

I taught for 35 years at both the university and high school levels. Believe me, anyone who survives the first year or two of teaching high school is an effective teacher. If you don't understand that, get yourself some teacher training, and go find a job teaching in a high school. Students are very good at seeing through a phony, and detecting weaknesses. And they are merciless with people they despise.

As for teaching kindergarten, that's even tougher.

BTW, your use of "teaching" assumes that it's something like painting a wall. You know, you paint a wall, and it's painted, competently or not, as the case may be. "Teach" is not something you do to someone. We don't have a verb that accurately refers to the complex performance that we may clumsily denote as "teaching-learning". We need a verb like "dance". The fact that we don't have one shows that most people have no clue what it's about, even though they've been one half of the duet for a dozen years or more. I guess it's like fish not knowing they're wet.


Anecdote: When I was first promoted to English subject leader, the leader of the business department complained to me that "her girls" couldn't spell, knew no grammar, etc. The English department was not teaching these necessary skills! When constructing the timetable for the following year, a freshman English class turned up unassigned. The principal and I consulted, and we decided to assign the class to the business leader. She never complained about poor spelling, bad grammar, etc again.

Have a good day,

Wolf K.
It's called "opinion" because it's not knowledge.
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