Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teaching and Knowledge

Suppose for a moment that the goal of teaching is to imbue your students with knowledge.

K=pJTB
Teacher: one who gives knowledge to his or her students.

So would you be a failed teacher if.
a) What you say is not true.
b) Your student is not convinced.
c) You don't believe it (but its in the curriculum).

I know the above statements are vague. It is to stimulate conversation on the words used in this post itself.
Also, mention any other circumstances that might define a failed teacher.

16 comments:

IBTromboneGirl_42 said...

I'd have to say that you would be a failed teacher if what you say is not "true" or if you don't believe it (though this means that you are not really giving knowledge to your students, in a technical sense) but if the students aren't convinced, I'd say that you are giving the knowledge but that the students are not accepting it

Peter K. said...

You would also be a "failed teacher" if your students do not believe. If that were the case, although the teacher would be giving away his/her knowledge, it would not be knowledge for the students.

sage tansanjelo said...

I would say that teaching is not to nessesarily to give you something that is completely true 100% of the time. Or is it there to convince you and tell you what you should believe. By simply telling us what we need and want to know, we do not grow as humans or critical thinkers. I believe teaching should give you several bases from which you draw your opinions and beliefs off of, that you will carry for the rest of you life in order to make desisions. Perhaps teaching on a deeper level is not for the knowledge of trivial fact, but for the knowledge of how we become an individual in that we decide our beliefs and values based on not only what we have learned, but our experiences as well. However the definition of knowledge right now to me is unclear. If you have knowledge according to this equation (for lack of a better word) thingy you have a properly justified true belief. A big part of human nature to me is the fact that we are always trying to better ourselves. Is it possible that if you have knowledge, you can technically go no farther because that is a properly justified true belief. This is pure speculation any ideas?

Flook said...

What if the teacher doesn't believe it, but the student does. Can you then say that knowledge was passed on, or what? Also, what if the student believes it, and the teacher believes it, but neither can find a way to justify said belief? Has the teacher failed then, or are both given the responsibility to find the justification? And what if the stdent has found a way to justify what a teacher can not? I would say that though the teacher didn't pass on the knowledge, he or she hasn't failed because they have caused the student to reach that level of understanding.

Wolf Man Jack said...

What if what you teach is percieved to be the truth currently, but is later proven wrong. This happens often enough. For example pluto, I was taught it was a planet, but now it isn't. I don't think that the teacher failed. They are told to teach was is generally accepted, whether or not it is truth.

Flook said...

I think that what wolf said goes back to teaching the curriculum. Sometimes the curriculum can later be proven false, though that doesn't make the teacher a failure, but perhaps the curriculum itself is the true failure. Also, the idea of PLuto as a planet is purely dependent upon language. Scientists changed the definition of planet, but that doesn't change what Pluto physically is, just the way we percieve it.

Wolf Man Jack said...

But perhaps Pluto never was a planet and we just now stopped giving it a false name. I.E. the earth is flat, and still is, even though we now say it is round.
Teaching needs to be two way, but it is important not to believe everything at face value. You need to make your own judgements, and not base your knowledge just on what is said in a book, or by a teacher.

IBTromboneGirl_42 said...

I agree that we should all question what we are to taught and that that is the REAL purpose of teaching but I maintain that in a TECHNICAL sense the teacher could be a failure as stated above

Jared,givemeagooddisplaynamenow,wolschlager said...

What is truth?, ANyway yes we all are succesful teachers only because we inherently need to lie, god picks certain things, "cough election", and he also forces us to lie and thus become successful. Indocrinating us with knowledge is still teaching successfully. but alas What do I know, SO thus I think if enough teachers lie consistently false truths occur and thus false knowledge, and thus success, since Knowledge is POWER.

Dmitriy Polyakov said...

Say a teacher was teaching truth, but that truth is very hard to believe. Therefore if the teacher cannot make his/her students accept that knowledge, then that teacher is not doing a very good job. A teacher must know how to teach in such a way that students will accept the knowledge given to them. And if the teacher does not know the truth, then they should not try to teach it at all.

Deep Chandegara said...

I disagree. Teachers have to teach what's in the curriculum or else they have issues with their superiors; they have to teach something whether or not they think is true knowledge. If teachers had to justify and prove everything they stated, it would be impossible for the students to learn anything. This is sort of like that one story they did on the news last week where the teacher got fired for disagreeing with the principal. I don't know if anybody saw that story, but basically, a teacher was hanging flags of other countries in his classroom, and the principal asked him to take them down becuase 'it was against the law.' When, the teacher didn't, he got fired.

Big E said...

Well. Let me state first of all that I don't believe that the raison d'etre of teacher sis to pass on knowledge, it is to teach how to think. That aside and given the parameters, a teacher would be a failure any time that they did not pass knowledge to their students. If they did not properely justify what they taught, if it wasn't the truth, or if the students didn't believe it, then they didn't pass on knowledge. Technicaly speaking thought, it doesn't matter what the teacher believes or knows, only if what they are teaching is right. So for the third question, it really depends whether the teacher or the curriculum is right.
-Evan

IBTromboneGirl_42 said...

But how can you know what is "right"(I mean, it depends on what the purpose is but, that aside (to steal from Evan)) isn't "right" a PJTB? so thusly true knowledge?
If the teacher is to be sucessful than they must believe what they teach and so they would have to believe the cirriculum so they would both be "right"?

Big E said...

Like I said, as long as the teacher passe son knowledge to his students he is good. It's not necesary that a teacher believe what he teaches. I could sit here and tell you "There is one true god, and his name is jahosafat". I don't believe that, but if it was true, and you believed me, then I would have given you knowledge. Therefore I would be a good teacher, even if I didn't believe what I was teaching.

Big E said...

Sorry I assumed teacher was a he. Read he/she.
-Evan

Vvyynn said...

I'll read he/she alright. It's an excellent commentary on the social climate.