Pseudoteaching

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[PT] Pseudoteaching: MIT Physics | Action-Reaction.

Here’s a lovely label I’ve been wanting for years.

Pseudoteaching is something you realize you’re doing after you’ve attempted a lesson which from the outset looks like it should result in student learning, but upon further reflection, you realize that the very lesson itself was flawed and involved minimal learning.

I think it doesn’t go far enough. Pseudoteaching is also practiced (sometimes willfully) by people who either can’t teach well or who don’t care. Far too many faculty in “research institutions” fall into the latter category. Most of those never get to the ‘further reflection’ phase of the process, and so they never improve. I’m sure the not caring part is a factor.

The key idea of pseudoteaching is that it looks like good teaching. In class, students feel like they are learning, and any observer who saw a teacher in the middle of pseudoteaching would feel like he’s watching a great lesson. The only problem is, very little learning is taking place.

Here’s the kicker: Some of these pseudoteachers manage to earn teaching awards. Really, all they are doing is merely looking good and making their students feel good.

This is far easier to do than actually teaching well. Sadly, many of the students who have been cheated out of a good education this way don’t even know it.

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think they’ll hate you. ~Don Marquis US humorist (1878 – 1937)

Perhaps the same can be said of teaching.

 

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Pseudoteaching — 6 Comments

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