Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Teaching a Science or an Art?

I teach that it is both.

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham has another answer.

  This from the Answer Sheet:
Daniel Willingham delves into the true nature of teaching and, in the video below, answers the question: “Is teaching a science or an art?”

Even if the answer seems obvious to you, the video will teach you something nonethless. Willingham is a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” (The answer, by the way, isn’t as simple as you think. Willingham explains here.)

His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” will be published in July.

Willingham has made a number of what he calls “garage-band quality” videos. This one was posted on his new Science and Education blog.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the video. I don't see national educational leaders or regulatory groups being willing to wrap their heads around the idea that whether we teach kids similarly or differently, they are naturally going to have different outcomes and the application of narrow standardized tests are not going to allow for legitimate determination if learning has occurred when the outcomes are going to be different anyway.

What is really concerning is the expectation that teachers will somehow be able to over come these natural conditions to create student learning results which probably are never going to exist anyway when the determination is going to be solely based upon the same limited assessment tool for all students.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is either an art or a science but a game. The most obvious parallel is the constant injection of scores and index comparisons. Educators in some ways are like professional athletes, basketball players perhaps, they give it a go one place but often move to a new team/school which offers better opportunity. Administrators are the coaches and owners who have the preasure to when the championship and listen to fans complain and voice their opinion about who should be doing what. Or maybe it is more like horse racing with the kids serving as the racing horses that you work out and teachers being the trainers who prep them for the big races that roll around each year. Good trainers often move on the better stables with a proven track record. Lesser performers are placed in lower purse races where competition comparison make you look better than the triple crown calibre you can't compete with. Perhaps what it is really like is gambling, perhaps poker. You look at your cards (kids), make your bets (invest in instructional resources that may or may not improve your hand's draw), then take the test and see if you win compared to the last year's hand.

Mary McCormick said...

I agree that teaching is somewhere in between an art and a science but I disagree that it is neither one. I found it interesting how the author compares medicine and teaching at first then compared architecture and teaching at the end. Teaching is not an exact science but I do think that when scientific methods of education are applied to classroom settings that science is involved directly. I think teaching is a bit of an art. Being able to come up with creative ways to present context materials to students that captivate their attention and spark future learning is an art. In my opinion it takes a great deal of artistic ability to make interesting and effective lesson plans. The author of this article made several good points of what it takes to make a good teacher and the two main things were first to use science to make lesson plans and for materials. Secondly, to use the methods to evaluate the actual learning that resulted from the lesson. I found the presentation of the information interesting in this article but disagree with the authors statements that teaching is not a science nor an art. I think it is a lot of both and everything in between.