The Complexity Myth: The Opposite of Science
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This chapter focuses on teachers and their relationships with students. Education reformers espouse a belief in the central role of the teacher; presumably under the tutelage of an effective, highly-qualified teacher, students will meet proficiency standards. But reformers frequently invoke complexity-for-complexity’s sake in the assessment of teachers at the expense of an appreciation for the actual complexity of the student-teacher relationship. These impossible expectations result in shortages of qualified teachers rather than improved classroom instruction prompting desperate school districts to hire foreign teachers—sometimes illegally. Asserting that teachers should be perfect the moment they begin teaching, relating to each student in the exact way that each student needs at all times is willful ignorance. The expectation of instant perfection for teachers is an example of the kind of magical thinking characteristic of children. It is ironic that many adults engage in childish thinking on how teachers should educate children, especially given that the goal is to transition children into thinking like adults.
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