Re: Teaching teaching

Matthew Weinstein (mgew@VMS2.MACC.WISC.EDU)
Fri, 4 Mar 1994 08:27:42 -0600

>The gripe seems to presume that the only,
>best, or most appropriate way to learn to teach is sitting in a classroom and
>being told how to. I would suggest that this is like suggesting that someone
>learn to swim through lectures and reading a book.

As both an experienced teacher (public school) and now a graduate student
in the school of education I want to both agree and disagree with Randy
McGuire's remarks. First, yes, you're right, Randy, sitting and learning
about teaching is a stupid way to learn about something which is
performative. On the other hand, instruction in teaching which involves a
cycle of critique about pedagogic skill by a knowledgeable observer,
someone who is trained in other ways of structuring education than students
sitting and learning in a tradtitional didactic style is invaluable.

Your swimming example is perfect. Most people I know who are regulars at
the pool were formally trained to swim by swimming instructors. That does
not mean that someone lectured to them about it. Teaching is the same way.
It can be taught, though what that means in this case is not defined by the
usual (boring) graduate/undergraduate experience.

Matthew Weinstein