Are Teachers Born or Made?

A. Read the text:

As all of us look back over own experiences with teachers, we recall that some teachers were much more effective than others. Some were stimulating - they made us think; they motivated us to productive work. Others were dull - in their classes we achieved only enough to get by and forgot most of that before the next school year began. It seems obvious that a trait, essential to teaching is the capacity to arouse students - to involve and excite them, to get thinking going and keep it going. Is this particular trait one which some people are born with, or can it be acquired? There is no easy answer to this question. Some persons while still children begin showing traits that suggest they can become exciting teachers. Their thinking shows an unorthodox, creative streak, and they exhibit unusual intellectual curiosity; they want to learn about all kinds of things and are probing and trying constantly. Such children also tend to be critical in the sense that they take nothing for granted; they always have to know why. How do we explain such persons? In one view heredity is the explanation; in another, early environment. There is no way of settling this controversy since everyone's personality is a product of his interacting with an environment, and no one can say trait A is inherited and trait B is learned. Heredity may contribute importantly to qualities of personality but, if so, this has not so far been conclusively demonstrated by scientific means.

Our answer to the questions of whether good teachers are born or made is that we have little evidence that they are born; therefore, they must be made. There are still some significant issues related to this question. To what extent does teaching hinge on general personality factors? To what extent does it hinge on the background of knowledge a teacher possesses? To what extent does it hinge on an understanding of technique or method, such as might be learned in professional education courses?

To the extent that good teaching depends on personality, it is somewhat doubtful that a college education can be of much help. The fundamental characteristics of a personality in most cases seem to be fairly well established before college age is reached. There are occasional conspicuous exceptions: some college students literally achieve a transformation of personality. In the course of time, as college professors themselves learn to become better teachers, we may expect more of these transformations.

So far as background knowledge is necessary to good teaching, certainly colleges can play an important role in the making of teachers. It is by no means settled, however, just what kind of background knowledge a teacher most needs.

The college work of prospective teacher is split between (1) general educationin the arts and sciences, (2) specialized educationin those subjects which the student expects to teach, and (3) professional educationi.e., those courses which treat problems of pedagogy - child psychology and development, social foundations of education, learning theory, curriculum, and methods. Although each of the above subject areas can provide useful insights, there is a group of the arts and sciences that feel that professional education, at least as now conceived, is of little value and should be sharply reduced in quantity. They argue in favour of extensive liberal arts education for teachers, coupled with heavy concentration in the fields of specialization. However, there are telling arguments in favour of professional courses, which we shall explore in the section to follow.

B. Translate into Russian:

to look back over one’s own experience

to motivate to productive work

an essential trait

to exhibit unusual intellectual curiosity

to take (nothing) for granted

to settle controversy

to interact with the environment

to contribute to one’s qualities

significant issues related to smth / smb

to be fairly well established

occasional conspicuous exceptions

extensive liberal arts education

C. Answer the questions:

1. What subjects should colleges of education include in

their curricula?

2. Wбho should be admitted to colleges of education?

3. What in your opinion are the drawbacks of today's

college education?

4. What is your image of "an ideal teacher"?

5. What qualities are indispensable for a teacher?

D. Write a composition on one of the topics:

1. Are teachers born or made?

2. Teaching is an art.

3. Experience is the best teacher.

7.*** Education Empowers

A. Read the following excerpts from a UNESCO report:

1. Education is not only a right in today's world; it is an essential prerequisite to all development. And, although education alone cannot guarantee people economic and social well-being, it does empower each individual through its effects on their attitudes, aspirations, knowledge and skills. Simultaneously, through its impact on population dynamics and on the social, cultural, economic, and political life, education helps to improve the quality of life, creating and reinforcing the conditions needed to reproduce the incidence of poverty.

2. Education has become far more accessible in all parts of the world; yet it is still far from being available for all. As statistics show: there are currently 905 million illiterate adults worldwide. Despite all efforts, they may still number as many as 869.4 million by 2010. Seventy per cent of all illiterates live only in nine countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

While there is an overall decline in the illiteracy rate, several countries have registered a rise in the number of adult illiterates because of population growth. Moreover, the illiteracy rate among the young is higher than among adults.

3. 130 million eligible children do not go to school and their number may grow to 144 million by the beginning of the 21st century. Of those who do enroll, at least one-third do not finish school for a variety of socio-economic reasons.

4. The situation is particularly acute for girls and women. Twenty nine per cent of all adult women are illiterate and 77.5 million of the out-of-school children are girls. The highest female-male literacy disparities are generally to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, in Southern Asia and in some Arab states.

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