Posted: Monday, August 18th, 2008
There are certain things in life that are supposed to inspire us with a sense of humanity and connection. Things like listening to an inspiring politician speak, or interacting with an engaging teacher. But the words of politicians are increasingly rote and “teleprompted,” and the spontaneous political speech seems to be going to way of the dodo. Could the teacher-student connection be on the endangered list as well?
The answer, in short, is yes. In her recent article, “Is Your Child Being Taught from a Script?”, M. Lee introduces the phenomenon of scripted teaching. Yes, you heard me right. And no, this isn’t something out of drama class. Scripted teaching means that actual teaching materials are manufactured to give teachers a uniform teaching formula, right down to the what to say, when to say it, and how to answer students’ questions.
To some, this might seem like a good idea. After all, teacher quality runs the gamut, from stellar to simply sticking with it for the pension plan. Why not let the “experts” tell those not-so-good teachers how things are done?
But I have to admit that the thought of any child enduring a lesson read word-for-word from a script gives me a straight-up bad feeling. If teachers, as individuals capable of connection with their students, are superceded by a script, it seems only a matter of time before robots replace real live people as the primary instruments of instruction in our children’s classroom. Then what happens to student motivation, and role models, and personal attention to students, and all those other things that aren’t supposed to leave children behind?
Sure, it sounds like science fiction now, but so did many things we now view as run-of-the-mill. I say stick to the script in drama class, and let the teachers teach in the classroom.