Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to be a Bad Teacher

How to be a Bad Teacher

1. Fail to be taught by good teachers.
2. Fail to study the teaching of good teachers.
3. Think that teaching is easy because the best teachers make it look easy.
4. Do not prepare.
5. Forget that God is watching and holding you accountable for every word.
6. Forget that you are informing the eternal destiny of all whom you teach.
7. Model yourself on characters you watch on television.
8. Fail to police your mannerism, speaking voice, and verbal ticks
9. Try to speak in an informal, casual way.
10. Think that the classroom should copy what is going on in the rest of the culture.
11. Enslave your teaching to "learning styles" of students.
12. Be more concerned with "getting through" the outline than in imparting knowledge.
13. View questions from students as interruptions.
14. Use pointless video clips.
15. Abandon lecturing since it is no longer cool.
16. Never improvise because you are not deep enough to do it well.
17. Use a small vocabulary.
18. Teach on line.

2 comments:

Colin Madland said...

This is (mostly) a great list!

The myth of 'learning styles' is one of those zombie ideas that serve zero useful purpose, yet never seem to die. There is no support for the idea of learning styles in the educational research literature or the scholarship of teaching and learning. They seem to be propped up by a huge industry dedicated to selling all sorts of learning styles inventories and promising rewards for teachers who try to teach according to students' self-reported learning styles.

Towards the end of your list, however, you mention two things that I think do not belong on this list.

Lecturing should be mostly abandoned, not because it is cool to do so, but because listening to a lecture is a poor way to learn. Like teaching, learning is hard work, and if we want to maximize learning, we need to focus our efforts of what students do, not on what teachers do.

Also, teaching online does not make a teacher ineffective. Certainly there are those who teach poorly online, just as there are those who teach poorly face-to-face. Researchers have all but given up on trying to compare online and face-to-face teaching contexts because the vast majority of well-designed studies find no significant difference between the two. In my experience in providing faculty development courses and resources for higher ed faculty transitioning to online teaching from face-to-face teaching, I have found that the degree of preparation required to teach well online only helps faculty in their face-to-face classroom. Faculty need to think deeply about constructively aligning their intended learning outcomes with how they are assessing their students. They need to structure the environment to encourage high quality, educative interactions between students and faculty, students and their peers, and also metacognitively within individual students as they restructure their cognitive models.

It is terribly unfortunate that 'online learning', with its rich history, has been dragged into the trough of MOOCs by Ivy League bandwagonners with more money than sense.

Finally, and with all due respect, if teaching online makes one a bad teacher, why would anyone blog?

Matthew Wheeland said...

My favorite: enslave yourself to the "learning styles" of your students.

I share your belief that learning styles are bogus.

Since human nature is universal, we can count on at least two constants in education: (1) the mind will learn when it is focused and interesting (2) one effect of the fall is that nature makes it difficult to learn-- ie., sometimes concepts are tough to master and other times students are just lazy/undisciplined in their thinking.