On Variety in Teaching

Teaching is often assumed to be a simple system:

  • The curriculum is assumed to be well-know and clearly defined (it isn’t–unless one accepts textbook publishers’ profit-driven judgments).
  • Instruction is assumed to be reliable (it isn’t—at least when we really look and ask).
  • Assessment is assumed to be valid (it isn’t—really, we have no tests measure or what students will be able to do once they leave school).

If we accept the variety of inputs that determine teaching decisions, inputs that vary depending on the nature of the curriculum, the type of learning that should result, and the nature if the students, then we have a greater potential of being effective Similarly, if we accept that there are a variety of “things” that we want our students to be able to do, some of which are unknown before we begin, then we also have a greater potential of being successful.

The variety of inputs and outputs that make for effective teaching