1/2/2006

Technicians and Professionals

Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:52 am

One of the tensions in teacher education is that the students often want the classes to be more ‘practical’. By this they mean less ‘theoretical’ – or in practice, that they want to be told tips and tricks, and how to do this and manage that and do the other. It’s important that we meet that perceived need, otherwise they won’t listen to anything else we say. But it’s also important that we don’t stop there.

I make the distinction that “Technicians know how to do something, professionals know why they do it (and that includes when to do it, and why not to do it in certain circumstances!)” Both types of roles are crucial in society – we wouldn’t function without skilled, talented technicians in all sorts of areas.

But teachers should be professionals, not technicians. They should go beyond what is done in the classroom (and in planning and marking and interacting with students outside the classroom) to an understanding of the reasons behind those actions. And some of those reasons are theoretical (some are just knowledge of human nature and relationships).

So we’re always caught in the tension between meeting the perceived need of student teachers to know how, and awakening them to their very real need to know why.

More Linux Toys

Filed under: — Bravus @ 9:39 am

I’m currently downloading the Live CD (i.e. the one that allows you to boot up from a CD and just save a few settings to the hard drive, rather than requiring disk partitioning and a full install) of Ubuntu Linux (5.10, the current release version, is delightfully entitled ‘Breezy Badger’). I’ve played with a variety of different Linux flavours over the years, and enjoy playing with them, but the verdict so far has always been ‘nice, love the open source, useful… but not really ready for prime time’. That is, in the sense of being ready for use as the main working operating system for normal users (not übergeeks).

I’m hearing very good things about Ubuntu, though, so I’ll check it out… and it supports the AMD 64 chip I have at home. I also hear that Google is looking at building its own modified version of Ubuntu… hmmm, a play to release a free (presumably ad-supported, but Google is good at doing that unobtrusively and in a way that means the ads are actually more likely to be ineresting) OS to compete with Windows? It’s not clear yet, but it’s a tantalising possibility.