Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Class teaching versus Individual teaching

In Otto Salomon's book The Theory of Educational Sloyd, he discusses the advantages and disadvantages of class teaching versus individualized instruction. He notes: "Class teaching may be good economically, but it is bad educationally." Here in the US, we have almost no education based on individual instruction, so the idea that individualized instruction might take place in a classroom would be revolutionary, and so far off the radar we might not have ever suspected that there might be better options. We are used to sitting bored and disinterested or with the sense that what is being presented is nearly incomprehensible and unrelated to our own lives. Salomon notes:
"Class teaching comprises the teaching of two or more children. Individual teaching comprises the teaching of one or more children. The aims of the teacher are not the same in the two cases. They differ materially. In class teaching the teacher is apt to regard the class as a unit. It is not the development of the individual scholar, but of the individual class that is aimed at. The minds of the scholars composing it are at various stages of intelligence; they differ also in ability (and interest). The efforts of the teacher are directed to assimilating these differences and to securing a uniform rate of progress among all the members of the class. On the other hand, individual teaching, the development of each child is the aim kept prominently in view. No effort is made to harmonise differences in ability, nor to advance the children with equal paces. The best teachers will make their methods approximate as much as possible to those employed in individual teaching."
This section of Otto Salomon's book, gathered and edited from lecture notes given to his students at Nääs is one of his most profound contributions of Education. So I may stick with it a few days. If it bores you, do other things.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Keith said...

Doug, you make some great points...never thought of classroom teaching in that way before. I will certainly pass it on to my son, a newly-minted teacher. I really enjoy your thought-provoking entries...thanks, Keith