Purpose of education and role of teachers

Stephanie’s blog “setting-new-teachers-up-for-failure” resonated with me in a number of places. In particular her closing comments

“Throw in small class sizes, resources, a classroom assistant and not having to play social worker means that I can actually focus on what I trained to do, teach.”

Stephanie works in Singapore which explains much. Reading her blog reminded me of some work I had done on the purpose of education via Waikato University. The purpose of education is fraught but can be considered (at a simplistic level) a combination of: Socialization, Academic learning and Facilitation of natural development. Increasingly, however, schools are expected to provide pastoral care, baby sitting and in some cases feeding services. These are a long way from academic teaching and learning although arguably pastoral care and feeding are pre-requisites. The skills involved in providing what are essentially social welfare and caregiver services are quite a separate set of skills to those of teaching – in my opinion. Maybe we need more of both roles…


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