1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Monday, December 31, 2007

Avoiding Presumption: Hiring Teachers

How easy it is to make assumptions about persons and things. For example, in the hiring of teachers it is often presumed that (a) demonstration of certain competencies (a degree, teacher training/certification, teaching experience, et al) translates into (b) a good or suitable teacher. Of course, we have all experienced "qualified" teachers who were dull, uninspiring or otherwise "useless" (with respect to communicating something to their students that was helpful to the students' lives).

How to avoid "misplaced" teachers in the hiring process? For one thing, beyond screening through a simple cover letter and resume, perhaps we could additionally have the prospective teacher write about his or her philosophies of education and of life. If we are faced with a generic ("boilerplate") philosophy of education, there's a red flag; a teacher who thinks that life's meaning is found in mere financial success or other extrinsic rewards is one who should not teach at our school.

In addition we might ask a teacher to read a relatively short article, essay or story and ask, "If this were part of your curriculum, how would you use it? What is important or useful in it to you personally? What elements in it do you think your students will find difficult? How would you help them overcome the difficulties?"

"What kind of man or woman are you?" is far more important than the degree in hand. People with a passion for the destiny of their students -- that's the ticket.

What is Education? Upcoming Workshop in the Denver area

What is Education? Definition and Method. A free workshop

I know that education is not the same thing as schooling, and that, in fact, not much of our education takes place in school.
-Neil Postman

Education isn't explaining reality; it's helping students to enter into reality.
-Julian CarrĂ³n

The value of an education is measured by how closely and obediently it follows reality.
-Luigi Giussani

There is a lot of talk today about how to “fix” our schools, how to raise student achievement, and ways to hold teachers “accountable” for results. But what is missing from the current education debate is this: a clear understanding of what education itself consists of and how education ought to help us live a more fully human life.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, professor, homeschooler, or are simply interested in what education is and how it relates to life, please join us for this free workshop:
What is Education? Definition and Method
Part I. Education is an introduction to reality
Part II. Education draws from tradition
Part III. Education is an education in criticism
Part IV. Education requires verification of a hypothesis of meaning

This workshop will draw primarily from Luigi Giussani's The Risk of Education, but will also include reflections from Neil Postman (The End of Education), Christopher Dawson (The Crisis of Western Education) and others.
Location, dates and times are still being finalized.
A common educational tradition creates a common world of thought with common moral and intellectual values and a common inheritance of knowledge, and these are the conditions which make a culture. -Christopher Dawson