"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life Learning - The Lost Art

Professor Lois Weiner worries about the deprofessionalization of teaching. This is a new word that gets flagged by spellcheck every time, but I thought this was the best definition of it:

The process by which members of a high-status occupation lose the facility to have autonomous control over its internal affairs and the behaviour of its membership. Deprofessionalization also results in a loss of the monopoly of the members of the profession to have exclusive rights to do certain kinds of work and a loss of control over the expert knowledge that, before deprofessionalization, was not available to the general public. http://www.answers.com

Perhaps the greater tragedy of the 20th century (yes I meant 20th) was the professionalization of teaching. In the 19th century teachers were sometimes criminals who could find no other work. Back then, your family taught you the things they thought you should know and life taught you the rest. Now we have professionals telling your family what they think your children should know and convincing future generations of educated people that they are not qualified to pass knowledge on to their children.

A quick look at the comments coming from Occupy (insert City name here) is certainly no testament to the efficacy of the teaching profession. Self proclaimed anarchists are angry that random strangers are taking the food and clothing sent for the protestors. Do they not understand what anarchy means? Do they think anarchy recognizes anything like property rights that would prohibit someone else from taking what is yours?

They rail against both Wall Street and the Banks, yet clamor for jobs. The fastest track to a job is to start your own company. But if they want to start anything as simple as a muffin business, where do they think they will get the capital to make that business happen if it doesn't come from a bank loan or a stock offering? How much longer will it take them to save the necessary capital if their savings aren't earning them money through investment or interest? If they expect interest from the bank, where do they think the bank will get that money? It would appear that the wonderful professional teachers they had in school did not pass on to them these basics.

They are using Roberts Rules of Order and practicing a functional democracy with their consensus building technique for reaching decisions.  This will be a wonderful life lesson why direct or pure democracy doesn't work (or is at least mind numbingly cumbersome). They were taught we are a democracy in school (see yesterday's post) but never taught why, because this drawback to democracy would have been exposed.  I, for one, couldn't be happier that they are learning this lesson now.

Perhaps what is most insidious about compulsory education and the professionalization of teaching is that it offers generations of parents the false sense of security that someone is teaching their kids the valuable lessons they learned. How many of the protestor's parents are sitting home face palming themselves after seeing their offspring interviewed?

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