Teachers – experts in “head –knowledge” or good educators?

We have a problem in our educational systems. Today’s article in SVD and other daily papers: (here, here, and here) addresses the issue of formal education and the importance of having schooled teachers. Schooled which way? Schooled to do what? The formal university, theoretical knowledge based education, which produces experts in “head knowledge” possibly without the necessary skills to be able to relate and communicate to groups of people.

I do believe in the importance of having schooled personnel for the training and educating of new generations. BUT, we only seem to be focusing on a certain segment of society as we consider the needs… In my daily life I meet literally hundreds of people every month who because of many different reasons don’t fit our educational systems and they find themselves denied of that which we consider a human right in our time and day; namely education. There is a “övertro” – a hyped faith in our educational systems, which only recognize the formal aspects of education and cannot deal with the non-formal and informal aspects of education and forming.

Those who find themselves denied access to power in society develop for themselves a whole informal framework in which they operate with great skill and effectiveness. They value little the fruits of formal education because they understand instinctively that the whole system is designed to deny them access to real influence. It is this aspect of non-formal education, which has received little attention. The method you use to educate determines the goal group with which you work. The further you move into the realms of formal education the more ‘up market’ your goal group becomes. This is unavoidable. Therefore your choice of method in education actually reveals your value system. It reveals who you believe to be a priority group.

The down-playing of non-formal and informal education by lack of recognizing (and accreditation) within our systems closes the door to many people who might be much better teachers than those educated in our limited and stream-lined systems which give no room for people not accredited by our system but whose teaching abilities, experiences and personalities might make tremendous differences in the lives of the students.

This problem is an overall educational problem and we find this in many different spheres of education, both in secular as well as in the theological educational systems. We cannot train teachers, or for that sake pastors, leaders by (over) emphasizing the formal aspects of education. Throughout the world there is “hunger” for alternative education that gives room (and acknowledgement) for apprenticeship, out of the classroom experiences and non-formal and informal aspects of training. It is about time for us to make room for alternative ways to educate and acknowledge teachers; because formal educational forms streamline and secure maintenance rather than creativity.

That’s the Way I see it!

John

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3 responses to “Teachers – experts in “head –knowledge” or good educators?

  1. You have a very, very good point here. But on the other hand. The formal schooling is a way to decrease uncertainty, and apply standardized way of labeling people.
    You may get a rough result when the grades tell you that the person can repeat what s/he had been told, by the teacher or could find in the textbook.
    Your point that non-formal competences should be rewarded, could be answered: It already is, in certain organizations. Often in businesses where the owners are themselves practitioners and know how to spot another practitioner with a good track record.
    A academic nerd will prefer another academic nerd, and a practitioner will often prefer another practitioner.
    The schoolsystem tells you certain things about a person, other systems tell other things about a person.

  2. Det svenska skolsystemet har dock tagit in jämförelsevis mycket gods från folkbildningstänkandet, den icke formella utbildningen. När jag reser i världen och ser utbildningssystem som bygger på fransk pedagogik uppskattar jag den svenska pedagogiken mer och mer.

  3. I also agree john! seems like we’re on the same page as per blogging!

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