Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Quotable Teacher, installment 1

So I thought we might try an ongoing feature here at ISW: a series of provocative quotations about teaching presented (as Rod Serling might say) for your consideration, without comment but with comments invited. I encourage my fellow contributors to join in with quotes they find.

So here's installment 1. It's from Steven Cahn's Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia (p. 9 in the 1986 edition, but the book's been released in a 25th anniversary edition):
A teacher is properly held responsible for what occurs in the classroom, and with responsibility must go authority. ...To recognize a teacher's authority, however, is not to suggest that a teacher should act in an authoritarian manner, exercising complete control over the will of her students. The appropriate relationship is that of guide, not god.

1 comment:

  1. Thomas Rickert offers a similar discussion of teaching in his recent (2007) book Acts of Enjoyment:

    "For me, this insight already suggests the beginning of another kind of pedagogical orientation: one that would relinquish faith in the pedagogue's power to control. This does not return us to a vision of the decentered classroom evacuated of power; the teacher still has power, but that power is no longer deployed toward the idealized actualization of an empowering critical consciousness in students." (171)

    Thomas comes at this problem from Rhetoric and Composition--one of my field's central debates concerns how "critical" a writing class should be. Thomas encourages us to encourage students to be critical, but equally urges us not to force our critical perspectives on our students.


If you wish to use your name and don't have a blogger profile, please mark Name/URL in the list below. You can of course opt for Anonymous, but please keep in mind that multiple anonymous comments on a post are difficult to follow. Thanks!