From the Chicago Tribune comes a story about how Illinois State University is hoping to help “budding educators focused on how make their instruction relevant to students, excite the desire to learn and help them go on to college” (Sic – maybe even have better command of the language than reporters.)
The kicker? This was accomplished with a 43 hour “marathon.”
While I applaud any effort aimed at bettering education, it’s difficult to know exactly how to react to this. Learning to excite someone else’s desire to learn, to making teaching relevant and to help your students get to college are worthwhile goals – maybe achievable with lots of hard work, over a considerable amount of time. Certainly not in forthy-three hours.
This kind of over-reach has several negative (and, I’m sure, unintended) consequences. For one, it implies that effective teaching can be learned in a weekend and so belittles the profession.
It also sets up these “budding educators” for immense disappointment, an all too common reaction among new teachers (who leave the field in droves).
I would humbly suggest that if you are going to hold a forty-three hour marathon for teaching educators, you narrow the scope to something much more manageable – such as “An Introduction to Classroom Management and Why You Need to Learn this Skill PDQ.”