The Science of Teaching? Part 3: "Killing the Golden Goose"
It is as if experts in educational practices believe that teaching can be boiled down to a paint by numbers exercise. They've study the right practices, know what effective teaching strategies are and have made a science out of it. So if we just put some blue here, green there, throw a couple of red blotches, "whammo!!!" there’s a painting. Granted, it may be recognizable compared to an original work, but it is in all reality, a poor copy. Some paint by numbers will look better than others and some may even be effective, but none of them are original or unique. None of them are inspired or worth much. None are art.
It can’t work with art and it can’t work with teaching. One can scientifically study art till they are as blue as Gainsborough’s Boy, but that does not make him able to paint masterfully.
True good effective teaching is really a mystery. It is bothersome to the experts. I think they look at teaching like “The Goose that laid Golden Eggs”.
There are some teachers that truly produce gold in their classrooms quite often. It is awesome and amazing. It brings value to the those students in that class, and there is usually value to those who work with her.
So, the experts have tried and tried to study this “scientifically”, to determine just where the "gold" in the classroom comes from. They create charts and graphs, they employ testing methods, they do everything they can to find where those "golden eggs" come from. They tear that goose apart. But just like the farmer finds out too late, the golden eggs are not inside. There is no understanding it. One just has to accept the wealth of the produced eggs and not try to get at the source. By parsing out the instruction, the instructor, by doing all this dissecting of the gold-giver we will ultimately lose.
A funny thing happened the other day. A student from out of nowhere brought me a Golden Goose. This is a picture of it. "Killing the Golden Goose" describes what it is I believe educational experts, legislators and the like are trying to do to great teachers.