Education schools no longer teach people how to teach, only how to be ‘woke’

Education schools no longer teach people how to teach, only how to be ‘woke’
Ibram X. Kendi (Image: YouTube screen grab via CBS News)

Teacher training doesn’t actually train people to teach. Instead, it teaches people to be woke leftists who understand little about how children learn. As a result, studies find that people who go through teacher training programs are no more effective at teaching than those who never receive such training.

Teacher Daniel Buck writes about this disturbing reality at the National Review:

My teacher training featured Black Lives Matter friendship bracelets, lectures on acupuncture and essential oils, acrostic poems as final projects, and a solid grounding in critical race theory. Notably lacking was a robust emphasis on teaching, learning, cognitive science, child psychology, behavior management, curriculum, or any other practicalities of the classroom. They were present but secondary to progressive politics….We assume that prospective teachers go to such programs and learn to, well, teach. Little of the sort happens. The few curricular reviews that do exist suggest that my program is concerningly representative….the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal solicited syllabi from three of the most prestigious schools of education in the country to determine the most assigned readings at each….the syllabi are replete with critical race theory, political activism, and even outright Marxism. Gloria Ladson-Billings topped the list. Notably, she introduced critical race theory into the academic field of education in 1995. She argues that because of racism’s ubiquity, our society “requires sweeping changes,” and so “liberalism has no mechanism for such a change.” Where the essay actually addresses education — and it does so sparsely — she calls existing school curricula a “culturally specific artifact designed to maintain a white supremacist master script.”

Another common name, Paulo Freire, set the groundwork for an influential approach to education called “critical pedagogy,” which envisions the classroom as a place of advocacy and revolutionary change, not instruction or learning. His seminal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is an attempt to map the oppressor-oppressed dichotomy onto the student-teacher relationship. He criticizes schooling that emphasizes knowledge transmission and cites the Russian and Maoist cultural revolutions as models of his thought in action. Name after name declares a radical bent at these schools. Jean Anyon wrote Marx and Education. Carlos Alberto Torres co-founded the Paulo Freire Institute. Throughout the curricula are explicit references to Marxism, critical pedagogy, radical feminism, and other fringe political stances.

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Thought that would be considered extremist among the broader American populace forms the ideological foundations of these schools. Even the so-called moderates on the lists such as John Dewey advance a theory of Romantic education, an approach that centers the child’s own interests and self-directed learning….Another paper by David Steiner, the executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, found a similar state of affairs after reviewing 15 different university teacher-prep programs — a mixture of both elite and non-elite campuses. Radicals such as Freire and romantics such as Dewey dominate the curricula….few programs asked their teachers to demonstrate competence on the methods of reading instruction, going so far as to call most of the syllabi “intellectually barren.” It is, he concludes, a “serious effort to shape the fundamental worldview of future teachers,” not an effort to form effective teachers….

Ultimately, students and teachers both bear the consequences of our teacher-prep failings. In my first year of teaching, having not learned the skills, my students learned little and my classroom was chaotic. Research confirms that teachers who go through established teacher-prep programs or none at all show little long-term difference in efficacy — unsurprising considering the political nature of these institutions. While I want to stymie the flow of politics into our classrooms, the real fallout of our woke-ified teacher-prep programs is simply mediocrity. Teachers who can’t teach create students who don’t learn.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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