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《经济学人》:电子教学-跃然于教室间

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America’s standardised tests are now “easy, a floor, not of interest”, says Ms Thordarson. She feels that the tool thus allows her to teach better and go deeper. But “You have to be more creative and more flexible, which is challenging,” she says. It’s not for teachers who “want to turn a page in a book”, adds Kelly Rafferty, the co-teacher. They thereby answer one common misconception about KhanAcademy: that it makes live teachers less relevant. Mr Khan, the teachers and Mr Gates all insist that the opposite is the case. It can liberate a good teacher to become even better. Of course, it can also make it easy for a bad teacher to cop out.

按Thordarson老师的话说,如今美国的标准考试“简单,低级又无聊”。她感到这样的教学工具可以提高教学质量并深化学生们的理解。但是她说:“这就要求你要创新,要更灵活,而这就是挑战。”与她一块任教的Kelly Rafferty老师认为这不并适合“照本宣科”的老师。由此看来,她们反驳了一个关于Khan学院的普遍误解:该网站让现实的老师变得无足轻重。Khan先生、其他老师和比尔盖茨都认为实际上恰恰相反,这种教育手段能使一个好老师摆脱束缚因而更加优秀,当然,同样也能让较差的老师投机取巧。

The value of teachers

教学理念

The arrival of a powerful new tool thus does not replace the other necessary element in education reform, the raising of teacher quality. Good teaching is the single biggest variable in educating pupils, bigger than class size, family background or school funding, says Eric Hanushek, an education expert at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. And crucial to having better teachers is evaluating them properly, hiring, firing and promoting on merit.

在教育改革中,这种强大的新型教学工具不会喧宾夺主影响师资力量的提高。斯坦福大学胡佛学院的教育专家Eric Hanushek表示,比起课堂规模、学生的家庭背景和校方的资金水平来说,唯独教学质量在小学教育中最容易改善。想要招募到优秀老师,关键是要有合理的评价机制,在老师的聘用解雇或是升迁问题上要注意举贤用能。

The teachers’ unions, however, are fighting all attempts to move away from systems in which pay and tenure are linked only to seniority and credentials. In some places, such as Washington, DC, the reformers have won a few skirmishes; in others, such as Los Angeles, the unions are digging in for a long war. The core question is how, even whether, teachers can be evaluated fairly on the basis of exam results or classroom observation (given that some pupils are from educated families, others from poor areas, and so on). The unions are doing their best to ensure that evaluations have no consequences in staffing.

然而,仅仅凭借工龄和文凭来定薪资和评职称的这套体系正是教师工会竭尽所能所要改变的。这样的改革在一些地区,比如华盛顿,已经稍有成效;而在另一些地区,比如洛杉矶,工会已经陷入了一场持久战。关键的问题就是,如何利用考试成绩和课堂观摩的方法(因为有的孩子出身于书香门第,有的孩子则来自贫困家庭,等等)公正的评价老师的水平,甚至这两种指标的有效性也值得商榷。工会现在正努力确保这些评级不会对老师的职位产生影响。

Technology can play a part here, because, in essence, evaluation is an information problem. Today’s standardised tests are deservedly unpopular with teachers and parents because, first, the “standards” tend to be low (and easily lowered further); second, teaching to the test is a form of dumbing down; and third, the tests take place only once or twice a year.

科学技术可以在这派上用场,因为从本质上来说,评教的根本问题出在了信息的匮乏。老师和家长并不看好如今的标准考试,因为第一,它所谓的“标准”太低,(而且标准还很容易继续降低);第二,应试教育会简化教学内容;第三,这种考试一年只有一两次。

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replace [ri(:)'pleis]

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vt. 取代,更换,将物品放回原处

 
social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 
counter ['kauntə]

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n. 计算器,计算者,柜台
[计算机] 计数器

 
contrast ['kɔntræst,kən'træst]

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n. 差别,对比,对照物
v. 对比,成对照<

 
demean [di'mi:n]

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vt. 贬抑,降低 vt. 刻意

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liberate ['libəreit]

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v. 解放,使获得自由,释出,放出
vt. 解

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institution [.insti'tju:ʃən]

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n. 机构,制度,创立

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methodology [.meθə'dɔlədʒi]

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n. 一套方法,方法学

 
quality ['kwɔliti]

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n. 品质,特质,才能
adj. 高品质的

 
flexible ['fleksəbl]

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adj. 灵活的,易弯曲的,柔韧的,可变通的

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