Title of the Paper
(The Art of Teaching Book Report)
(Kadeejah Johnson, [emailprotected])
Number and Name of Course
(Managing the Diverse Classroom – EDUC 311)
Class Meeting Time/Day
(M/W/F: 11:00 A.M. – 11:50 A.M.)
(Monday October 17, 2016)
Bowie State University
Department of Education
The Art of Teaching
Summary of the book
In the novel, “The Art of Teaching”, Gilbert Highet takes the importance of knowing how and when to be a good teacher. He lists that there are many other professions in the world, however the most important and rewarding profession is teaching. He talks about how the teacher has a particular job and that the only time that a teacher gets is over the summer if he or she did not enroll in summer courses. There are other forms of educating different students and a way to teach them the subject that the teacher is more keen to teaching. The teacher’s second reward as described in the book as the teacher using his mind on valuable subjects regarding Literature, Social studies, mathematics and the arts. The teacher is the most important character and most valuable player in the classroom. There are qualities of a teacher that are good and allows for there to be a difference in who the teacher is and what the teacher teaches. Highet discusses how teaching is inseparable from learning, which enlists that there is a good teacher that makes an effort to learn more about what he teaches.
The teacher is supposed to believe in the value and be interested in the subject that he or she teaches. Highet also suggest that the only reason for learning, and it is so that boys read and want to learn something worthwhile. The teacher has been said as the problem solver, the one who continuously finds pupils and educate them based on the sole fact that they are the future, and are required to learn all that is granted to them as individuals. This is where he begins to mention that young people cannot chose their teachers, until they reach university age and sometimes not even then. A wise teacher will keep his pupils from feeling he is playing a trade rather than being able to somehow carry over such knowledge to his pupils. A teacher must not just like the young because they are young. Which is why it is important to realize he must also enjoy working in groups and students working in groups, which Highet found the most universal factor of teaching is that the teacher must enjoy the conditions of teaching and to find the energy in their students.
Highet found that if a teacher prefers working in a lab or reading in a library they will never be a good teacher. He also goes into the fact there being behavioral issues in school the teacher must act as the leader of a group, and feel the same flow of energy as the students based on not being tired while he’s teaching. He then goes into explaining the time period during the sixties where heroine was a big part of the failing school system. Fights would break out and much of it was because of the lack of good teachers. Highet had hoped that students would take the teacher and hid or her personality and make a deal of learning from them. It has been said that the teacher must know his pupils and must know their names, habits and the way that they learn. He found that it was important for students to make the teacher feel more obligated to learning. Highet also insinuates that in order to influence them in any way they must be convinced that the teacher knows them. The art of teaching, like the art of healing consist in recognizing the combination of types. The best way to know a pupil is to divide each student into a type, which inevitably leaves both the student and the teacher in sync with each other.
The teacher is the most significant role in the school, amongst the staff members and the students the most important is the teacher. Which Highet found as the most emancipating thing and that is that teachers are the ones who starve the talent that is in pupils. Teacher’s tend to overshadow such talent by not recognizing it. Teachers in schools and colleges must see more, think more as well as understand more than the average man and woman of the society in which they live. The teacher must not forget that there is a void in the educational level of higher education and that there is also a new form of education based on both the student and the teachers’ effort in learning. It has always been in the best interest of the teacher that the student succeeds and is able to master certain subject areas. Highet found that both the student and the teacher must come to an understanding, and that is that there is a better life outside of school, but also that there is potential. The book was intended for people that aspire to be teachers or those who had already entered the profession.
The good teacher will be the one who is vitally in abstracting the talent from the student so that he or she is given the opportunity to grow from both the knowledge and the respect of knowing that someone cared enough about them to focus on their development. The teacher has the most difficult job, Highet warns, but he also adds that it takes someone dedicated, honest and open about the opportunity to do something that will go to later generations. Highet opens up about his experiences as to why such students and teachers build strong relationships with their students, outside of school and instruction. Highet found that the teacher closest to him helped him grow on the basis he found talent, and that was in his ability to write. The art if being a teacher is that they are encouraged to continuously learn and to become more aware of his or her students. Highet encouraged throughout the book the most important obligations to teaching and what it meant to be aware of all the student’s needs. Although it had been said that Highet found school boring and unenthusiastic, which he stated was because of the teacher. Based on Gilbert Highets’ motivation in writing a book on what it means to be a teacher and how to be a teacher, it has been proven that it takes the student and the teacher’s cooperation in assisting the needs of both the student and administration. Highet indicated that the relationship between a pupil and a teacher should be everlasting, and always growing so that the student never stops learning.
Highet takes an analytical and historical approach to the greatest of teachers and their methods. In doing so, he provides one of the finest examinations of the methodology of the Classic Greek School a layman could hope to find. Highet encourages a love for learning, a love for children and a passion for sharing only the finest with our students. He would have been opposed to “dumbing down” on many counts, but primarily because of the lack of respect it shows for the potential of the student. In a mere five pages, Highet manages to encapsulate the essence of what made Jesuit education so distinctive and valuable to the world of ideas. It makes it clear to those who read his words these many years later that the loss of Jesuit identity and methodology at their own institutions which took place in the end of the twentieth century has been a tragic loss.
Highet lays out in detail, with examples, and with practical guidance just what it takes to be a teacher; in short: an expert with a passion for both his subject and his students. Of particular interest to his reader was Highet’s exploration of the methods of some of the greatest teachers in history such as Jesus, Plato, and Aristotle, among others. Highet describes the qualities of the good teacher, the methods to be used in class, and those used by some of the world’s great teachersSocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, and the Jesuits. It consists of a series of essays on the joys of teaching and learninga retrospective of his earlier views, but with special application to the college teacher. In it one also finds stimulating pieces on Gilbert Murray, Albert Schweitzer, and Jesusnot on Jesus’ methods of teaching but his relation to the Twelve Apostles and other secret disciples. Which ultimately brings the end of the book, and it took over the course of several pages to initiate what a teacher is and does based on examples and scenarios presented throughout the book.
Reaction from the book
Gilbert Highet took the meaning of education and added to it the dimensions of the teachers roll, and their involvement with the students learning. I have found that this book left more questions than answers as far as what the “art of teaching” really is. I began to think that after a few pages of the book I would get what the story means or who was involved. However, the most confusing part was the examples he gave about an effective teacher and a teacher that believes society around them teachers them. Highet failed to give evidence about what he thought would be a perfect teacher or a person who is in the position of teaching pupils in general. He went off on tangents when trying to convey to the reader that becoming a teacher is both a rewarding and time consuming career.
If Highets objective of the book was to get the reader to become a teacher; he left behind details that would ensure that the reader would further their effort in education or simply leaving the topic for opposition. Perhaps, the significance would be the reader finds that there are many forms of teaching and there is a lucrative business in education. The question came to if the objective was for anyone to become a teacher. Highet found at some point towards the end of the book that there is no science to become a teacher. There is no way that someone who enters the profession would further their career or if he would become a significant figure in the student’s life. The important take away from this book was that a teacher is the most significant role in the school. He or she must be prepared to handle a situation in favors of both the pupil and his or her education. The confusion began to die down once I read one of the most important takeaways from the book, and that is the importance of staying true to the student’s ability to learn and to witness the talents of each individual.
In order to understand what Highet meant when he said that, “I believe that teaching is an art not a science”. This is indicating that there are strategic and goal abiding characteristic that a teacher must have, and that is to ensure that each child receives the same form of education as those who are African American and Hispanic. He mentions that these to minority groups are amongst the most difficult to educate when there is a situation in the urban cities. This comes as a surprise because it was believed that education was granted to everyone, no matter of race, gender or the quality of the education they gained previous. Highet admits that during the eighties education was looked at as a joke, however many started to realize how important it was to receive an education. Teaching to me, is not an art it the only way of survival, what can society do if you are educated? It slows down the stereotype that African Americans and other minority groups are uneducated and have a difficult time learning and going to school amongst other groups.
There will always be this burning question as to what makes Gilbert Highet’s, “The Art of Teaching” the guide to someone who is entering the field of education or a refresher to those teachers who are still educating under the institution. Highets contribution to the theory of what teaching really means and what it is to those teachers who want to branch out to another profession. I will say that I am not convinced, and solemnly believe that teaching is a privilege and that only those who wish to learn something new every day, and those who read for enrichment, as well as believe in the education of the youth should be teachers. Art is a form of expression, and those who express the desire of teaching should not read this book. The chance of feeling discouraged, and unconvinced that Highet proves why teaching is an art, will only leave confusion and rebuttals. Teaching is an obligation, and is rewarding through seeing each child succeed and pursue the institution of higher learning, and investing in their education.
There are often times teachers are misled as the problem solver, and the begin all to end all in situations concerning the youth. However, Highet suggest that such factors are important and they allow everyone to be on the same page. This book is difficult to read if there is no interest in education or being a teacher. Highet allows the reader to interpret what he means and ay what volume he needs to reach his goal, and that is to encourage one to read or to put the book down and run to educate. The ultimate goal of any educator is to allow his or her pupils to be themselves and to express sole interest in education. Not at all does this book make readers want to take it home and read it on their own time, yet had it been an assigned read, much of the content would be interpreted as an aggressive take on what a teacher is, and what a teacher does in his or her own leisure. The most difficult thing I found about this book is that there is no clear thesis as to what a teacher is, or the art in teaching. At some point I found myself wanting to turn to the end to find if it was mentioned at the end of the book.
If you are only interested in band wagons and believe that no real learning has taken place before your appearance on the scene, this book will be a disappointment. Highet takes an analytical and historical approach to the greatest of teachers and their methods. In doing so, he provides one of the finest examinations of the methodology of the Classic Greek School. Highet encourages a love for learning, a love for children and a passion for sharing only the finest with our students. My guess is that he would have been opposed to “dumbing down” on many counts, but primarily because of the lack of respect it shows for the potential of the student. Although the book seems a little old fashion, one could consider reading this again in the near future.