TC's Lin Goodwin Discusses Education Trends at Singapore Conference
Lin Goodwin, Evenden Professor of Education and Vice Dean, was one of three speakers at the National Institute of Education Singapore Conference who were interviewed by BFM, Malaysia's only independent radio station. Here are excerpts from Goodwin’s Q & A.
Q. What makes a good teacher? Goodwin: “Good teachers are able to get close to students. Good teachers are committed to the public good. They understand that their purpose is not simply to finish Primary 2; their purpose is really to educate for the future.”
Q. In the U.S., there have been calls to control how teachers teach. Goodwin: “Quite often, expectations are attached to who we think these students are. It’s no accident that schools in the poorest neighborhoods quite often have the weakest teachers or the least experienced teachers, because nobody wants to teach there. It is no accident that the curriculum in many of the poorer local schools in New York City is focused solely on the test, and drilling the students to perform on the test, and then we’re surprised that they rebel and are not interested. And yet, if you go into a school that serves middle-class children or white children, the curriculum is much more interesting, it’s integrated, it’s much more project-based, it’s hands-on, it’s experiential, it’s all those kinds of things, so there are reasons why the achievement gap continues, and it has little to do with the parents, or the children we send to school.
Q. Does diversity make it harder [for U.S. teachers] to reach the top? Goodwin: So much of teaching is done by women, so I think that the idea of controlling teachers is connected to inequities around gender. I think that if every teacher were a man, perhaps we’d be thinking a little differently. So until we get past that, and see teachers as thoughtful, well educated, well intentioned, well prepared professionals, we will continue to be in this dichotomous debate. One minute teachers are professionals, the next minute they’re not professionals, one minute we trust them, the next minute we’re giving them scripted curriculum.
Q. Is online education the way forward? Goodwin: I believe in blended learning, so it’s not just online or in person, but to think about that learner and about the goals we’re trying to achieve, and then to decide what parts of the curriculum should be online, what parts should be face to face.
LINK: Redesigning Education (BFM 89.9)
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Published Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015