I can’t help it, sometimes it all just gets too much.
I’ve managed to be exceptionally polite of late, I’ve even avoided whining on about the pointless and inevitable failure of new ‘education is content’ providers like LessonBrites (online instructional video marketplace… puhlease), WiZiQ (find the best teachers… why?) or Tutororm (be honest, it’s tech guides) – who are all being outsmarted by Universities anyway… education isn’t about content, it’s about certification ;)
Ooops, failed to avoid it now.
But heck, why not let it all come out at once, and what in particular has pushed me over the edge is this Future of Teaching nonsense. Nothing to do with Will (who, notably, doesn’t exactly endorse the ‘findings’!) or the fact that nobody invited me (sniff ;), just to do with this kinda stuff:
At one point we were put into small groups and asked to come up with a job description and an ideal candidate for a “learning agent” 10 years down the road. The result was pretty interesting. None of the job descriptions were for traditional teachers. Few of the candidates’ qualifications emphasized schooling or even classroom experience. Instead, the group identified candidates that had a wide variety of life experiences and attributes, most centered on the ability to facilitate or connect, and an understanding of social technologies and deep collaboration. [Weblogg-ed]
Is suppose it’s inevitable that a room packed with futurists, bureaucrats and people who’ve done well out of social technologies would come up with this kind of definition, and if you’re going to call your seminar “The Future of Learning Agents” then this is the kind of guff that you’re going to expect.
But holy macaroni batman, “there are 1,300 teacher preparation programs that are preparing teachers for schools that none of us think should exist” [again, not Will]… are you for real.
Interestingly enough I’ve belonged to three broad professions so far, teaching, journalism and web-design/dev… all of which no end of the unqualified and unexperienced won’t hesitate to have an opinion on. Just because you’ve been taught, doesn’t mean you can teach… because you read newspapers doesn’t mean you can pick up a pen (or a blog!) and become a journalist and because you spend every day on the web, that you can design successful environments and experiences. I’ve learned the hard way.
And this feels like more of the same.
Where was Stephen in this discussion I wonder, or Terry Anderson or Chris Bigum and the many brilliant educators and teacher trainers at Deakin or any other respected education faculty. Anybody from edublogs or eduspaces there… I doubt it.
And how many teachers at the chalkface heard how their qualifications and experience as teachers was pretty useless really, how many people stood up and said ‘this is nonsense’ (apparently consensus was only lacking around the real pressure points???) and how many of the attendees work day in day out with FT teaching loads in government schools… or have done?
I am sick and tired of people who really know very little about education and teaching mouthing off about it.
Would you get this with dentistry, or aviation, or engineering? I doubt it. And while you quite rightly find people expressing opinions about, say, the health service… would you get them defining the ‘doctor of the future’? Hmmm… I think not.
And besides, the point I’d really like to make is that teaching is not simply facilitating, educational qualifications and experience in education are invaluable (not replaceable by ‘broader life experience’). There is no substitute for classroom time and to be quite frank, in 90%+ of teaching and learning contexts it doesn’t really matter whether you can send an email or not
Come on y’all, call a fig a fig, a trough a trough, a spade a spade and silly guff, silly guff.