An article in The Economist magazine explains How to make a good teacher.

Good for a classroom from sixty years ago.

If this is to change, teachers need to learn how to impart knowledge and prepare young minds to receive and retain it. Good teachers set clear goals, enforce high standards of behaviour and manage their lesson time wisely. They use tried-and-tested instructional techniques to ensure that all the brains are working all of the time, for example asking questions in the classroom with “cold calling” rather than relying on the same eager pupils to put up their hands.

The concept of “imparting knowledge” and “preparing young minds” represents a very traditional vision of learning, one in which students sit in classroom rows waiting to receive the required knowledge. With the teacher “cold calling” all the questions, using “tried-and-tested” techniques to get pupils to produce the “right” answer.

The basic premise of the article – that we need to improve teacher preparation programs and provide better support on the job – is completely valid. However, the writer’s view of the role that should teachers play in student learning is antiquated at best.

Unfortunately, it’s also the foundation of most education reform proposals.