Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is more important, the teacher or the system?

I have spent the last six years helping to set up, run, and teach at a small private language school. Most of my energy has been spent on trying to find the right materials, the right activities, and the right curriculum to best help my students.

However, recently there have been a lot of articles and news stories about how the most important factor in whether children learn is not the educational framework but rather the teacher. One example is this article:

"Building a Better Teacher" (NYT Magazine, March 2010)


So, have I been wasting my time in trying to design a good system? I don't think so.

I hope that having great materials and a clear, logical curriculum will make it easier for teachers to do their jobs. It is not a substitute for a good teacher, but rather a complement to one.

2 comments:

Aaron said...

I agree with you Ben that you haven't wasted your time. And yes, a good teacher will always complement a great system.

In short: you can have a broken teacher, and replace him/her to plug the leaks.

If you have a broken system on the other hand, it will matter less how good the teacher is...the school will continue to leak.

sendaiben said...

Thanks Aaron.

We're still working on the system -I get the feeling this is one of those things that will never be finished!