The Types of Knowledge Needed for Effective Teaching

Image by Harish Sharma from Pixabay
Image by Harish Sharma from Pixabay

I once visited my brother back when we were both young single professionals. For some reason, we decided to roast a whole duck for dinner. Neither of us knew much about cooking back then, much less roasting a duck, but it was OK because we had a recipe. The ingredient list called for a whole duck, naturally, then a long list of spices and condiments to season it with. The first line of instructions read something like “In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.’” My brother dutifully got out a small bowl, and then, to my surprise, picked up the duck and put it in the bowl. I asked him what he was doing. “It said to combine the dry ingredients,” he replied. “The duck is a dry ingredient.” He wasn’t wrong, but I knew he wasn’t right. The point of this story is that having a recipe didn’t make us good cooks, no matter how detailed the recipe or how closely we tried to follow it. In the same vein, knowing exactly how to carry out a pedagogical practice doesn’t make us good teachers.


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