The Preparation of Teachers: An Unstudied Problem in Education

By Seymour B. Sarason | Go to book overview
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6
Some Final Comments

This book has been concerned primarily with the implications of the point of view that the teacher, far from being a technician or imparter of knowledge, is an applier of psychological principles in a particular kind of learning situation. One of the major implications of this point of view is that improvement of the quality of teaching is not likely to take place in any marked kind of way by merely increasing the amount and variety of information which teachers should have.1 Just as we must never confuse degree

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1
As we indicated in Chapter 2, we agree with those critics who have maintained that the liberal arts and science backgrounds of teachers have been far from adequate. However, in so agreeing, we do not assume that strengthening background in these areas will in any direct way increase teacher effectiveness -- an assumption, by the way, which receives little or no support from research on transfer of training. Our agreement with the critics reflects the belief that the goals of teaching in our schools (elementary and high schools) -- the attitudes toward learning and intellectual skills which we wish to engender in children -- are outgrowths of the traditions and spirit of inquiry of the liberal arts and sciences. We hope that the greater one's background in these areas, the greater the appreciation of the values and modes of inquiry which have enabled these areas to expand man's knowledge, outlook, and skills. Until some evidence is forthcoming, however, we cannot assume that such appreciation increases in any marked kind of way, the skill of transmitting it in appropriate ways to children of different ages and capacities.

-117-

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