Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Teaching without wanting to

An educated person has the ability and inclination to use judgement and imagination in solving the problems that confront them at work and at home, and to participate in the maintenance of democracy.

-David Berliner

David Berliner presented this quote in a keynote speech here. He goes on to mention that the quote above was influenced by Deborah Meier - who was likely influenced by John Dewey.

Berliner notes that it's not just the acquisition of skills but the inclination to use them that's important. Berliner states:
It does us no good to get kids to learn to read and have them not want to.
You learn to read by reading, but we are turning kids off, and we are seeing the demise of reading as a hobby. 

Berliner's reasoning works as well for teachers as it does for children.

When education reform sees teachers as nothing more than a tool to be used by bureaucrats to implement policy, we engage in an activity Alfie Kohn calls Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach. 

It does us no good to get teachers to teach and have them not want to.

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