But let me emphasize again that a primary requirement of a future English teacher should be that he or she has acquired a great deal of CONTENT KNOWLEDGE–knowledge of literature, grammar, usage, mechanics, literature, theatre, rhetoric, media, literature, more literature, even more literature, etc.–and has demonstrated competence in speech and writing.
And, ofc, all future teachers need lots of experience with mentored practice teaching.
Here are what I believe should be the key takeaways from any English teacher prep program (in addition to knowledge of literature and syntax and the structural characteristics of a wide variety of kinds of writing). Any future English teacher should have an understanding of
- the difference between descriptive and procedural knowledge, between knowledge of what and knowledge of how (NB: Use of the word skills should be forever banned from EdSpeak. The term leads to insane levels of vagueness and puffery.)
- the difference between acquisition (largely unconscious and automatic processes) and learning (largely conscious and directed processes) and ways to systematize and accelerate acquisition, consistent with how the brain is organized to carry out acquisition of different kinds, and, in particular, of vocabulary and syntax
- the relative pedagogical value of diagnostic and formative assessment and lack of value of summative assessment
- the usefulness of operationalizing instruction on concepts (turning them into concrete operations that can be carried out)
- the importance of world knowledge and of syntactic competence and fluency to reading comprehension
- the following facts about motivation: a) that extrinsic punishment and reward are DEMOTIVATING for cognitive tasks and b) that our goal must be to develop intrinsic motivation that will produce self-directed, life-long learners.
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For more pieces by Bob Shepherd on the teaching of literature and writing, go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/teaching-literature-and-writing/.
For more pieces by Bob Shepherd on Education “Reform,” go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/ed-reform/