it's probably me

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

teaching as a moral craft

It's a shame Tom's book is out of print. He presents a thoughtful re-presentation of teaching, one that values the craft/technical as well as the moral/normative. I especially like his definition of teaching as a moral craft: "a reflective, diligent and skillful approach toward the pursuit of desirable ends" (p. 128). I'd like to think I favor this conception of teaching in my own beliefs and actions, even if I stray far afield at times.

It seems so much in education is presented as a dichotomy - like Hirsch, either we accept a "traditional" approach toward education or we accept a "progressive" approach. Either we view teaching as a skill or an art, a practice or state of mind. Why can't we concede the argument and accept that teaching is everything we can possible suggest and more? Again, Tom makes a poignant statement: "The socially constructed nature of teaching phenomena magnifies the choice-making element of teaching and requires us to reflect on how we want to approach any particular situation" (p. 206). It's a social process, one based on working with changeable human beings; nothing about teaching is either-or, it's either this or that or this one or perhaps that one or possibly this...

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