Thursday, May 21, 2009

Content vs Process

Here is the first of (I imagine) many articles on the importance of teaching content in schools and the reemergence of the idea that developed conceptual understanding can only be achieved by having a baseline of subject knowledge.

It has always been to my mind counter-intuitive to request a student to "understand" a topic without having facts to scaffold that understanding upon. There is no use in giving students methods of learning information if time to learn the information is not given and valued. The constant devaluation of content knowledge vs developing process has lead to a flawed education system.

I have to agree with the writer that being a yr 11/12 subject teacher with a deep understanding of a course requires more ability than that of 6/7/8/9 or 10. These experts in their fields deserve to be paid more and gain recognition for the guiding of students at this critical point in their lives. It is high pressure work with success leading to recognition for the school and the making of careers for students. Failure can lead to pressure from parents, administration and (more damaging) self criticism and confidence depletion.

Having experienced now 7,8,9,10,11,12 there is no doubt in my mind that the pressure involved in getting students over the TEE line far outweighs anything in earlier years. I have utmost respect for those that do it successfully over long periods of time.

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