Another dot in the blogosphere?

Good vs successful teaching

Posted on: August 20, 2020

Larry Cuban’s reflection started as a critique of “remote learning” in the age of COVID-19. He preferred to call the process “remote teaching” instead. He ended his thoughts with the importance of distinguishing good teaching and successful teaching.

Another way to distinguish between “good” and “successful” is when a 8th grade teacher teaches the theory of evolution consistent with the age of the child and best practices of science teaching (the “good” part) and then has her students complete three written paragraphs filled with relevant details and present-day examples that demonstrate their understanding of the theory of evolution (the “successful” part). These teaching acts are not the same nor does one necessarily lead to the other.

This dichotomy is important because it distinguishes the act of teaching from the evidence of learning. You can be a good teacher but not a successful one if students do not provide evidence of learning.

Unfortunately, most administrators do not share the same view. They would rather measure good teaching with end-of-course evaluations or test results. Neither fully measure successful teaching or evidence of learning. End-of-course evaluations are about many other confounding variables (see tweet above) and tests are often about test-taking ability.

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