Thursday, July 12, 2007

Intuition vs Training

I had two conversations today, albeit on two different topics, that boiled down to the same question - nature vs nurture. So to take it out of the context of both conversations I ask the question of whether teachers are 'made' or born.

My answer to that question has always been that teachers are born but that the kind of teacher education we have traditionally offered at the University of Regina makes them better - more professional, more aware, more willing to develop themselves.

If a person is intuitively a good teacher why should they become more 'professional', more aware and more willing to develop themselves? Isn't it the case that if we make someone aware of their gifts we risk the chance that they will become too self-conscious? to self-aware? and then lose their abilities? or at least the naturalness of their abilities?

My position is simple - teaching - as with many other kinds of activities - art, management, engineering, medicine, dentistry - requires a certain level of consciousness on the part of the practitioner. This consciousness allows for control.

There is without question, within each of the areas I listed above, there is are elements of artistry and creativity. But each of these areas are also laden with 'technique' and technique can always be improved and improvement comes from focused, conscious practice.

Instinctive behaviours that result in extraordinary results is wonderful and a blessing - but without the person's ability to explain and control those behaviours they are 'tricks'

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