Building a Better Teacher

Building a Better Teacher ~ Stephens Web ~ by Stephen Downes.

Stephen comments on an article in the NY Times that claims great teaching can be taught, an issue of great interest to me and Stephen alike. In his comment (from which I declined to actually read the original article), Stephen suggests that the article is effectively a marketing blurb for a book by Doug Lemov, which in turn is promotion for his consultancy. When The NY Times implements its “subscription paywall”, this sort of book promotion will not be effective because the articles will no longer be widely distributed (many of the people who read the NY Times for free will not pay for the privilege). Stephen also notes that Lemov uses “unsurprising techniques” (ie nothing new or innovative) and there are no scholarly references to the “Lemov Taxonomy”.

I am interested in Stephen’s comments because there is subtext that jumps out at me:

1) Paywalls will discourage advertising masquerading as journalism. (Possibly a good thing about paywalls? Of course I won’t find out because I won’t pay …)

2) Where will newspapers get their pay-for content? (Implication that much of the content of newspapers is actual marketing / promotion. Can real journalism only be resurrected by making people pay to read?)

3) Lemov has no “scholarly references to it” – by which I presume Stephen means that Lemov is not cited by any papers in academic journals and that this reduces Lemoy’s credibility. I find this an interesting observation given the subtext in a lot of Web 2.0 discussion that the gate-keeping process of peer-reviewed academic journals creates an unnecessary monopolisitic constraint on the dissemination of new ideas.

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