Is teaching an art or a science?
I think teaching is a balance of being an art and a science. To be an effective teacher you need the skill and experience that comes from the art of teaching and the order and proven procedures that come from the scientific component of teaching. In an artist’s perspective, teaching is often associated with the awakening of a passion for a subject. And while that is extremely important, the scientific approach, of standards and organized procedures, is important as well. The art of teaching often keeps the pupils interested, creativity is emphasized and the learning also is more likely to be connected to the real world. The scientific approach consists of learning facts that can be tested, accountability for student standardized test results, and mass instruction. There is not a lot of individualization in education today. In this country all teachers and schools are held accountable for their standardized test results. This “accountability craze” is the direct result of the scientific approach that emphasizes having only one right answer. The art of teaching emphasizes the effort, and more importantly the process. The process shows us our mistakes, helping us learn and grow from them. This is very important because learning is more than just listening to the teacher and doing the work. Real learning only occurs when students are fully engaged in the assignments and it is very hard to simulate enthusiasm in the scientific approach to teaching. The scientific approach to teaching is similar to the scientific method. First, you ask yourself, how can I help my students learn the material in the fastest and most effective way? Next, do research on different kinds of lesson plans out there. Then, make an educated guess on which lesson plan you think will be the best choice. Next, carry on with the lesson you think is the best choice and have an assessment at the end of the lesson. After that, analyze the lesson and assessment results. Did it really get them to understand the material? Ask for student feedback and draw conclusions on what worked and what didn’t. Finally, share your results with other educators, telling them what worked and what didn’t. All in all, I think that we cannot label teaching as just an art or just a science. It is a very complex skill but it does contain amounts of both.