ERIC Number: ED299257
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching Practice: Plus Ca Change... Issue Paper 88-3.
Cohen, David K.
This essay addresses the question of why teaching seems to be resistant to change. It is argued that researchers' answers have suffered from defects both in how the question has been framed and where the answers are to be found. It is pointed out that, assuming that teaching can and should change, "barriers" to change have been sought, but most explanations on conservatism in teaching focus on external conditions such as finance, organizations, incentives, and the like. However, locating the fundamental barriers to change in instruction within teaching and learning, rather than outside of them, it is posited that teaching is a practice in which one human being tries to improve the ideas, capacities, emotional states, or organization of others. Efforts to make teaching more adventurous, spontaneous, and exciting run directly counter to the conservative tendencies in instructional practice, exemplified by the understanding of teaching as an attempt to "improve" the student. The nature of practice itself and its social constitution, perhaps, explain why so few teachers have embraced innovations. Even if restraining conditions were swept away, the nature of practice is such that most teachers and students would have great difficulty implementing instructional reforms that encourage sponaneous discovery learning. (JD)
Descriptors: Change Agents, Discovery Learning, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Institutional Characteristics, Social Attitudes, Teaching Methods, Traditionalism
National Center for Research on Teacher Education, 116 Erickson Hall, College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($6.50).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Teacher Education, East Lansing, MI.