“It Sort of Woke Me Up”
Listening to this Science Friday “teacher feature” story –and in particular to Tom Carlson in the garden with his students– I heard the intangible essence at the core of excellent teaching. There is an ontological or essential nature to this teacher’s way of speaking and acting that seems indicative of a tremendous capacity to inspire learning–at least for some students. This capacity is one that most of today’s teacher evaluation rubrics are not designed to measure. Is it as essential for meaningful knowledge creation as pedagogical content knowledge, assessment proficiency or classroom management skills.

On the other hand, an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today entitled “Smooth lectures only foster the illusion of learning, study finds” suggests that affect doesn’t matter. But is inspiration the difference between fluid and dynamic and choppy and boring, or is it something else altogether?


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