I really love reading Thomas Basbøll’s blog, Research as a Second Language. Someday I’ll write that well. Today’s post, Teaching as a Foreign Language?, hits spot-on one of the biggest challenges I face anytime I teach. I’m going to make this article required reading for every student I have next year at Sheridan:
Even our students have fallen for this new jargon. They seem more concerned about how “good” or “engaging” their teachers are than how smart or knowledgeable they are. They don’t presume that what their teachers know (precisely that which qualifies them to teach the subject) is relevant to their educational needs. They are ready to evaluate the “teaching methods” used in the course but not to think critically about the subject matter they are being taught. They presume to be able themselves to judge whether today’s lesson was too “abstract” or too “trivial”, and whether they are “learning something”. (As trained theorists increasingly attempt to impart “practical” knowledge they are less and less often satisfied, of course.) They are too easily (because too eagerly) confused by the differences of opinion they are exposed to, and forget to form an opinion of their own, except, of course, an opinion about the course and its teacher.
Exactly how I feel, but written beautifully.