Improving education starts with understanding teaching

Chapter 8 of my book argues that education won’t improve until our improvement paradigm coincides with the essence of teaching. The social science improvement paradigm assumes teachers improve their craft by applying techniques and strategies that educational research has found to be effective. The aesthetic improvement paradigm assumes that teachers improve their craft by looking inside themselves and finding new and better ways to deliver their content and relate to their students?

Unknowingly, Malcolm Gladwell weighed in on this question in Blink: The power of thinking without thinking (2005, p. 52):

Our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way . . . I think that approach is a mistake, and if we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgments. We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that — sometimes — we’re better off that way.

I hope someday school leaders, administrators, and policy makers will understand that this is how all good teachers teach.


#1 Mark J Steger on 12.12.19 at 4:03 pm

This sounds like something that supports Trump’s style of governing.

#2 casey on 12.13.19 at 3:04 pm

As you wrote earlier, “Turtles all the way down is an allusion to the problem of infinite regress in finding a foundation for one’s beliefs.” Nobody else believes that the six virtues define the educated person, but I do. I did not have that belief, when I started writing the book, but it has become stronger as my experiences with educated and uneducated people continue.
So, the foundation of my beliefs is clear to me. The six virtues define the educated human being. (I list the reasons on my homepage.)
What does this have to do with the premise of Gladwell’s book and Trump’s style of governing?
Early on Gladwell says his book is not about what we should do, but what we actually do in the recesses of our brain. (I cannot find it now.) He seemed to be distinguishing between describing his book as a moral/philosophical statement, and a book that tells stories about the psychological experiments carried out to better understand why we do what we do. (Understanding is the first virtue.)
I added the part about what school administrators and policy makers should do because the six virtues are the basis for the aesthetic paradigm. Gladwell’s book is about why we do what we do (psychology). My book is about what we should do (philosophy/morality). The aesthetic paradigm, as its name suggests, is about bringing more beauty and less ugly into the lives of young people.
While Trump’s brain may work like all of ours, he rarely does what an educated person would do. I say this because, when I look at his actions, I see that he rarely demonstrates any of the six virtues. Instead, he often demonstrates the six vices of the uneducated person — ignorance, intellectual incompetence, weak character, fear of truth, pride and selfishness.
It is not “anything goes” in the aesthetic paradigm. Every teacher (president) should demonstrate and encourage the six virtues, instead of the six vices.

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