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Does the world need more teachers?

  1. Nov 9, 2017 #1
    Education is a lifelong goal, for me. I have rarely met anyone who doesn't need to educate themselves more on a subject or matter, otherwise, we're in the twilight zone of sages and masters, which are rare and few. Even Aristotle, who one of my philosophy teachers told me, was the last man who knew everything in the world, did not become content with his knowledge. Similar to Goethe's Faust, there is an insatiable desire to want to know more, driven by important human traits such as curiosity, hope, and the desire for eudaimonia.

    I've often resented the fact that education is considered as a stepping stone, which upon completing doesn't require further practice. It's become mechanized like a production line in many regards. Since the advent of modern education along with a growing population that is inquisitive and interested in further education, I feel as though, there might be a need for a higher degree than what is attainable as a P.hD. In all seriousness, a Bachelors nowadays has lost its value relative to what it would have been worth some 50 years ago. It would seem intuitively obvious that the best worker is one willing to learn on every step on the way forward before, during, and after work.

    So, what am I getting at?

    Basically, that with so many people around the world, who are curious and inquisitive, that we ought to have more teachers in the world to help guide them in their epistemological development about the world. We have seen the development of many online programs and youtube self-help tutorial videos that are driven by the aforementioned traits displayed by people. The practice of educating one's self is a virtuous circle, yet, is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy. Again, as per one of my previous threads, the market has corrupted education in my mind.

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  3. Nov 9, 2017 #2


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    How so? The rise of the internet has drastically increased the amount of information most people have access to. Not only in the sheer amount of "primary" articles and books, but also with how easy it is to communicate with people of almost any background and with nearly any interest. All of those online programs and self-help youtube videos you mentioned only make it easier.

    I can't imagine a time when educating oneself was easier than it is now.
  4. Nov 9, 2017 #3
    Not very many people today really value teachers. Colleges in particular make the assumption that anyone who makes it to graduate school can teach. The tend to reward teaching very poorly. What they reward instead is said to be "research" but in reality, it is grant money. To advance in most colleges, bringing in grant money is a much faster and more productive way to spend your time than teaching is. Colleges and advanced education are rather throughly corrupted by the quest for money and image. Thus, I suggest, that whether more teachers are needed is a moot point; its not going to happen when there is so little reward for doing it. I say this as one with 17 years of college teaching and rank of Professor.
  5. Nov 9, 2017 #4
    I agree with that sentiment; but, there's an issue of lacking guidance in one's goal of education. I mean, any professor or academic here cringe when Wikipedia is used as a bona fide source to a claim of knowledge. Then there's the paradox of choice, where there are so many vistas and different degrees that one can become overwhelmed by what best decision to make. So, hence again the need for a (possibly) higher role of institutional education in our lives provided by qualified teachers and (counselors)?

    Gee, I hope I'm not making the profession of teaching more onerous with them also being moral or guides for others.
  6. Nov 9, 2017 #5


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    Information is not the same as knowledge or skill.
  7. Nov 9, 2017 #6
    We have plenty of loser teachers who are willing to pass students who don't do the homework and don't master the learning objectives.

    We need more good teachers. Don't bother if you will just be another prostitute gifting grades and pretending to make a difference.
  8. Nov 9, 2017 #7
    I agree, and appreciate, all the more, the dedication of people who still desire to teach regardless of that fact.

    I would be keenly interested in what kind of solution could be provided to this predicament in your mind.

    Thank you.
  9. Nov 9, 2017 #8


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    Your teacher GROSSLY overstated Aristotle's knowledge. Hell, he didn't even know about the existence of most of the world and I'm confident that his knowledge of, for example, the various living creatures in the world was but a tiny fraction of all extant organisms. I could go on and on and on ...
  10. Nov 9, 2017 #9
    I should have stated that differently. He was the last man to know everything available to know at the time. I think there's some difference in stating that instead of 'everything' as I misstated.
  11. Nov 9, 2017 #10


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    That caveat would certainly make it more reasonable but still, I think, far from the truth. I'm not arguing that he was not a polymath of his day but let's not go overboard.
  12. Nov 10, 2017 #11


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    Sadly, people don't use access to the information to learn, but to confirm their prejudices. Think anti-vaccination movement.
  13. Nov 10, 2017 #12


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    Are you still a student or are you in the workforce yet? There are a great many professional jobs that require continuous learning - many even formally - in order to advance or even keep professional certifications.
    Not really, no. The idea of a degree above phd contradicts the idea of "learning every step on the way" because formal schooling to get a degree is generally designed to be a full-time job in itself. While there are people who do night school to get one, there just isn't enough time for most. So the learning comes in smaller bites.

    ...except for research scientists, who's primary job is continuous learning.

    Can you give us a specific example of a field/job where this would apply and a specific description of the ongoing learning or higher degree you had in mind?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  14. Nov 10, 2017 #13


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    I'm not so sure we need more or better teachers, we need to treat the teachers we have better than we currently are doing, and teach learning for it's own sake rather than for the reasons we currently seem to have, e.g. making educational establishments look good, solely preparing children for a future job, grant money, and so on.
  15. Nov 10, 2017 #14
    I guess I am old-fashioned. In my view, the point of higher education is NOT to cram a bunch of knowledge into your mind; it is for you to learn HOW to cram that knowledge into your mind. It is to develop critical thinking, so that you can separate the truth from the crap. It is up to YOU to continue doing that for the 60 or 70 years you have left after you leave school. Learn new stuff every day. Learn stuff on your own, and from other people. They don't need the title "teacher" for you to learn from them. /rant sorry...
  16. Nov 10, 2017 #15


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    In the UK we now have a severe problem with teachers that just know the bare minimum about their subject to get by and absolutely nothing about anything else .

    In my senior school days we mostly had teachers that not only had an in depth knowledge of their own subject but of many parallel and even unrelated subjects as well .

    Maybe few of you who are younger than me have ever had the experience of being taught maths or physics by teachers like that . There was a syllabus somewhere but all the lessons where fresh and wide ranging and fascinating every time and not just absolutely fixed and sterile rote learning exercises .
  17. Nov 10, 2017 #16
    I am afraid we will have to revise our sense of values to accomplish any real change. Today's society respects and honors the man with the most money, not the one with the greatest intellectual accomplishments. I see a real major part of the problem as lying at the upper levels of the academic establishment. When Deans discovered that grant money brought in "overhead money" as well (simply a slush fund), they really got behind the idea of making grants the most important activity. It gave them money for which they did nothing and were not accountable to anyone for the way it was spent. This factor makes a strong appeal to the lowest parts of the human mind. Until we restore the idea of personally working for the money you spend, this will not change.
  18. Nov 10, 2017 #17


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    Exactly !
  19. Nov 10, 2017 #18
    according me, yes. But not for making lectures, but for answering. I think about one thing: I learn math by study very good material in pdf-s. Then I go to forum where I ask questions. Maybe 200 question during 4 years, which I ask. I think that is core to understand anything. Questions and answers.
  20. Nov 10, 2017 #19


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    I agree that many people use this access to information to confirm their own prejudices. But I also think that this is far outweighed by the people that use it correctly and I also think that many of these supporters of anti-vaxx (or other similar groups) use the internet correctly when it comes to topics of which they don't have strong pre-existing opinions about.

    I don't understand what "teach learning for it's own sake" means or what it's supposed to accomplish beyond some vague premises of "teaching critical thinking" and whatnot. The primary reason people go to college is to help them get a job. If that isn't the primary concern of a college, most people aren't going to go to it.

    I do agree that the other issues you mentioned, such as the focus on getting grant money, are important topics that should be looked into.
  21. Nov 10, 2017 #20
    So, we need to focus on liberal arts degrees more with an emphasis on critical thinking?
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