Is Teaching an Art or a Science? – Dan Willingham

May 29, 2012

Just seen this, the latest video from my favourite psychology academic:


One comment

  1. Yes, teaching is akin to medicine and engineering in aspiring to change aspects of the world. However, medicine and engineering have advanced, while teaching is much what it was. The reason is due to technology–the “how to” derived from Development, the D in R&D. Education is unique in viewing technology as equipment, typically electronic equipment. That does not “how to” make..

    Both medicine and engineering have invented reliable methodologies for improving their capacity to effect change. Had medicine and engineering relied on producing “qualified” doctors and engineers without attention to the “things” the professions use, they would see the same thing we see in instruction–only variability
    — within classes, between classes in schools, between schools, and between larger administrative units.

    The schools provide a natural laboratory for Planned Variation experimentation that can be conducted unobtrusively and with negligible marginal cost. So long as teaching focuses on deficits and attributes all failure to the student and/or parent rather than to the instruction the student received, teaching will continue to be “up to each teacher” and the system will remain out of control.

    Will look forward to your new book!

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