Sugata Mitra speaks truth but…

June 21, 2013 at 7:06 am
filed under Evaluation, Teaching

“Teachers are the way they are because of the examination system in schools. They don’t have a choice.” Professor Sugata Mitra

I agree, our examination system is ancient and horrible. Not to mention demeaning. It helps school communities to exist parallel to the ‘real world’ with the false assurance that we are preparing learners to eventually make the leap over to it.

We can talk about changing the evaluation and we will change teaching – and we need to talk about it. In the meantime, we are faced with the reality of the end of course evaluations and really? We don’t have a choice? That’s a cop-out if I ever heard one. Very easy to wash my hands of the whole matter and continue teaching irrelevant material to a roomful of bored, unchallenged, disengaged students.

Pfft.

When teachers tell me “I don’t have a choice but to teach the way I do”, I cringe. When they allow a test to be the sole indicator of the direction in which they will guide their students, I want to weep.

And when people talk about teachers as if they have no personal control or choice over how they teach, I want to scream.

You, Professor Sugata Mitra, have just given teachers the option, the permission, to float along and teach to tests and say it’s not my fault until the examination system gets changed. Bravo.

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  1. David Wees

    on June 21, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Very good point Tracy. It would be far more accurate to say that “teachers are most likely to be this way in the type of system that we have, and they may feel like they have limited choice in how they teach.” I think the system makes a difference, but it is not a deterministic system, we do have choice, and we need to exercise it to do a better job for our students.

  2. Tracy Rosen

    on June 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

    That’s right, David. We need to exercise it and to do so can be messy sometimes. And it worries me that comments like the one I quoted above will prevent people from getting their hands dirty.