Are Students Quantized?

Does a teacher have to be an expert in a given medium or tool in order to be able to teach it?  Dan Meyer comes down firmly on the affirmative side when talking about the use of videos and music.  As an amateur, his term, you should not attempt to judge or evaluate the products of other amateurs for fear of instilling bad habits and reinforcing amateur status.  In principle this sounds good particularly in the creative or artistic examples that he cites.  It makes logical sense that it would be better to have an expert judge how the music in a video project adds (or subtracts) to the overall mood of the piece.  Setting the bar higher by having real experts grade artistic efforts sounds wonderful.

On the other hand I have to wonder if we should be willing to push students (through grades or less formal evaluation) even when we are not able to get them fully over the bar.  I am not an expert in graphic design (or even just PowerPoint) but I have some ability to critic the errors made by my research students as they present their work.  It is true that my evaluation of their products is not static over time, as I have learned more they have gotten better feedback, but I believe that I have always added value.

So it seems to boil down to one’s view of the nature of creative achievement.  Can a student be moved from one state to another higher state through multiple small nudges in the right direction or are students quantized such that only a single big push will work?

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One Response to “Are Students Quantized?”

  1. Hello Says:

    Great article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

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