Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Motive, or Motivation?

Two disparate posts, with the same theme. First, from Robert Mandel at Mandelinople, exploring the motivation of teachers. He compares a variety of situations, from open source programming, to the difference between mediocre and great practicioners of disciplines such as programming and composing, to the manufacture of iPods, and channels it all into the motivation of teachers. Particularly history teachers.
Too often, in fact, in most cases, a teacher goes into an interview for a job and has a credential that "qualiifes" them to teach the subject they are applying for. In my case, I have a single subject social studies credential. This "qualifies" me to teach history, economics, government, as well as any other course that falls under "social studies", including psychology. But how hard is it to earn a social studies credential? In truth, not very. And as professor Wineburg noted, to often those who teach history have taken few if any classes in it.
He makes some very good points and, as always, you should read the whole thing.

Then, from Chaotic Synaptic Activity, comes this post, titled "Inspectmanship" vs. "Getting It" In it he speaks of the Florida Comprehensive Academic Test. (FCAT), the No Child Left Behind program, and the different methods of preparing for Combat Systems Assessment inspection in the U.S. Navy.

The culture was easily lulled into doing enough to get by sometimes, with the focus being that one and only inspection, the wolf closest to the sled. When times were hectic with deployment and training schedules, it seemed the next avalanche of work for the next big event kept coming. Sometimes the best you could do was to figure out the path of least resistance to the passing grade. Striving for excellence was an entirely different ball game.

The old saw that says Those that can, do: Those that can't, teach would not, in my opinion, apply to either of the gentlemen. I would hazard a guess that Mr. Mandel would make a fine Naval Officer, and that the person behind the Chaotic Synaptic Activity blog would make a fine History Teacher. They Get it.

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