Every now and then, I glance at what Grant Wiggins is prosyletizing (he's the originator of Understanding by Design). He has a blog. I started reading his latest which attempts to provide a definition of what a teacher does. I could only read a few paragraphs. I had a stomach bug last night and I didn't want a relapse.The link to Wiggins' site is here.
This one line jumped out at me: "I have known many teachers who do little more than cause learning, yet would be found wanting on many of the components (think: Jaime Escalante or any gruff loner-but-respected veteran teacher)."
Now what in the world does he have against Jaime Escalante, the legendary math teacher who turned around an east LA high school and produced record numbers of students who passed the AP calculus exam? Let me guess: rote learning, no understanding, means to an end, not fostering the true spirit of the subject?
Then there's a list he makes of components of the job description of teacher as he would write it. I stopped after the first of four things an educator must cause:
"1. Greater interest in the subject and in learning than was there before, as determined by observations, surveys, and client feedback"
Well, OK, I admit it; I'm not really a teacher. I often tell students who express a dislike for the subject I'm teaching that "You don't have to like it, you just have to know how to do it." There. I said it.
One commenter on Garelick's post added:
"cause learning"? That could possibly be the most offensive description I have ever heard.I'm probably not the only one who's heard Wiggins and his "Understanding By Design" touted as the end-all, be-all.