A Call for Learning Teachers


In the world of higher academia, the old adage “publish or perish” is a guiding principle (even if somewhat stereotypical and exaggerated).  Why the emphasis on publishing? 

One could argue, quite easily, that it is the inevitable result of a pragmatic view of education – if the faculty of the university is not “producing,” then they are dead weight.  Additionally, if professors are not producing works which are “publicized” then they are not helping to draw in students interested in those respective fields. 

But, is there a less sinister, more significant reason for the stress placed upon faculty production?  Perhaps.  There is at least an important lesson which could and must be drawn, in altered form, from the old adage and applied in classical schools.  “Publish or perish” is an attempt at keeping teachers honest.  It seeks to keep faculty members from atrophy; intellectual stagnation. 

Does it go too far?  Most likely.  Intellectual growth is not always measurable in the form of CEU certificates, published writings, or graduate credits.  The cultivation of wisdom does not always leave a paper trail. 

The point, however, should be clear – that in order to teach, one must learn.  As another old adage claims, “To cease to learn is to cease to teach.”       


2 Responses

  1. Anna,
    Thank you for the invitation. I also agree with your insight concerning the dichotomy between the ability to write and the ability to teach. While I would say, as I’m sure you agree, that the two abilities should go hand-in-hand, frequently one is honed and the other is neglected.

  2. Any and all teachers should have a commitment to lifelong learning. Not only do we HAVE to do this in order to maintain balance and gather together new resources, but we are basically forced to do it anyway on many levels. I admire published professors, but I have also heard arguments from university students that they have professors who write plenty of books on the content, but don’t necessarily have what it takes to be a good classroom teacher. I think that the lifelong learning should include a little of both. A teacher is terrible without content knowledge, and a teacher is terrible without classroom teaching skills for engaging learners. BTW–I would like to invite you to Christian Teacher Forum here on WordPress. It is a site dedicated to putting together a network of Christian teachers in the public, private or homeschool arenas. I’m sure that you would have some excellent insights.

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