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  #21  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:30
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

Do you mean arithmetic or mathematics? I'd guess that if it's arithmetic, language skills are probably more complex. If it includes logic, problem solving, abstract reasoning, then who knows.


At any rate, lots of different measures of intelligence. Language skills, processing skills, yada yada yada. Different skills are important in different teaching disciplines.

And then of course, there are researchers and writers and teachers.... so who knows....
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  #22  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:32
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

Teachers, by and large, aren't very smart at all.

Spend half an hour in any staff room in the world and you'll see what I mean...
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  #23  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:35
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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Teachers, by and large, aren't very smart at all.

Spend half an hour in any staff room in the world and you'll see what I mean...
When I was younger, I held teachers in some kind of awe. They were special people, not ordinary.

Then I went into the staff room. There were sign telling teachers to wash their cups after they'd been used and to flush the toilet in the staff loos. My awe was somewhat diminished.
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  #24  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:39
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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A radio presenter yesterday made the claim that English teachers are smarter than Maths teachers.

His explanation was that the best mathematicians have plenty of options for better jobs than teaching: finance, science etc. As a result those who become Maths teachers are not the best mathematicians.

He claimed that for English the same range of options don't exist, therefore many real experts in literature etc. become teachers.

It all sounded very logical when he explained it, but I feel there must be a flaw in his explanation. Is teaching a profession that people turn to if they cannot find anything better?
I would agree with the general statement but stress the differences of both fields. 1 + 1 will always equal 2...and therefore, I think, that there's only so and so much you can actually do with mathematics. Being a language teacher is a whole different ballgame. In terms of language or literature, we can combine the alphabet with the volatile element of our soul and thoughts and therefore, enable it to be a powerful yet complex field of study (or teaching for that matter).
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Old 20.06.2011, 23:41
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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Then I went into the staff room. There were sign telling teachers to wash their cups after they'd been used and to flush the toilet in the staff loos.
Yup. Mouldy cups, stolen milk, unflushed loos, dreary conversation about the most inane topics imaginable, constant whining and bad coffee.

Why do you think I'm on the EF every lunch time? This place is positively normal compared to a school staff room.
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  #26  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:44
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

As a former English teacher (primary)... I'd say Maths teachers are smarter. I stayed with the little ones because I was too scared to teach Maths beyond Key Stage 1! Great respect for anyone who can teach Maths.

Although I would have to agree about teaching being a vocation... the only reason I specialised in English was that I had a change of heart at Sixth Form and decided I wanted to be an infant teacher instead of a modern languages teacher at secondary school... and these being the days when you studied 3 A levels (plus the useless General Studies), I didn't have much choice as to my specialism... French and Spanish BEd degrees being non-existent!
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  #27  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:44
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

Has anyone seen the film "Bad Teacher" which is now showing in the local cinemas? It sounds interesting.
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  #28  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:49
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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How very true. Teaching is a skill, more so than knowledge of the subject taught.

Can a good teacher swap subjects ?
You mean teaching Spanish when you don't speak a word of it? I don't know, I never tried. I'll have a talk with my school director and keep you informed.
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  #29  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:51
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

All this talk of teaching being a vocation is cobblers, by the way. Teaching is no different from any other job: you start off being a bit rubbish at it, you learn on the job and, with a bit of luck and plenty of hard work, you get better at it.

Even after twenty years you'll have bad days, days when you realise the children have learnt nothing, days when you wonder why you bothered to get up, days when you wish you had a little second hand bookshop somewhere with nothing but the ticking of a clock and the shuffling of shoes to disturb you.

In other words, being a teacher isn't much different from being a lathe operator, a doctor, a gravedigger or a civil engineer.

Except we get longer holidays.
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  #30  
Old 20.06.2011, 23:51
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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You mean teaching Spanish when you don't speak a word of it? I don't know, I never tried. I'll have a talk with my school director and keep you informed.
I did say "good"
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  #31  
Old 21.06.2011, 00:01
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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I did say "good"
Take any definition of what a good teacher is to you. Any definition will do. Then go out there and find the required number of people matching this definition to become teachers. There is noway you find enough people for all school in the country.
Teachers are just terribly normal. I've known absolutely every possible kind of teachers/people.

If somebody thinks that he/she knows teachers, then he/she knows mankind. That makes him/her a great philosopher, who should write.
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  #32  
Old 21.06.2011, 00:03
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

I was a math teaching assistant during 2 years at university. I enjoy math even during leisure time. What I learned during these 2 years of experience is the following:
- you never fully understand a topic until you are asked to teach them to someone else. I misunderstood many concepts and understood them fully only when I had to explain them to a class.

- what differentiates a good from a bad teacher is not the understanding of the taught topic but rather the storytelling capacity. Being able to communicate in an entertaining way very dry concepts and to capture the attention. This is also true for other jobs (business manager, ceo, etc...).

English teacher smarter than math teacher? Maybe since they have better language skills they are more likely to be good storytellers.
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Last edited by MrVertigo; 21.06.2011 at 00:18.
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  #33  
Old 21.06.2011, 00:53
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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Has anyone seen the film "Bad Teacher" which is now showing in the local cinemas? It sounds interesting.
That may be what gave the radio presenter the idea of his comments in the first place.
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  #34  
Old 21.06.2011, 01:07
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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that was actually the reason i chose to study maths. sad, i know.

i didn't want to spend 4 years learning something only for it to be dis-proved. my philosophy teacher also used to argue that historians can 'teach' us anything
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  #35  
Old 21.06.2011, 01:11
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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But, being a mathematician or an expert in literature does not necessarily make one a good teacher, so I think the argument is flawed. A good teacher is a good teacher, per se; they possess skills that are not necessarily directly proportional to their expertise in their chosen subject.
hence the phrase, those who can't: teach.
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  #36  
Old 21.06.2011, 13:32
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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All this talk of teaching being a vocation is cobblers, by the way. Teaching is no different from any other job: you start off being a bit rubbish at it, you learn on the job and, with a bit of luck and plenty of hard work, you get better at it.
or otherwise you grow so confident that you cease to notice how rubbish you are at it
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  #37  
Old 21.06.2011, 13:34
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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or otherwise you grow so confident that you cease to notice how rubbish you are at it
You speak like someone who knows teachers!
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  #38  
Old 21.06.2011, 13:37
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

I think "teachers" should be renamed to "educational entertainers."
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  #39  
Old 21.06.2011, 13:38
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

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I was a math teaching assistant during 2 years at university. I enjoy math even during leisure time. What I learned during these 2 years of experience is the following:
- you never fully understand a topic until you are asked to teach them to someone else. I misunderstood many concepts and understood them fully only when I had to explain them to a class.

- what differentiates a good from a bad teacher is not the understanding of the taught topic but rather the storytelling capacity. Being able to communicate in an entertaining way very dry concepts and to capture the attention. This is also true for other jobs (business manager, ceo, etc...).

English teacher smarter than math teacher? Maybe since they have better language skills they are more likely to be good storytellers.
A lot of story telling goes into teaching maths as well. And not just when teaching the little ones. Some complex mathematica proofs are really stories of great depth and in recreating them you can show a class what challenge faced some great mathematicians of the past and how they went about delving deeper to finally come up with some great solution.

For me a formula is often just boring BS. Anybody with a pocket calculator can use a formula to solve a problem. The real beauty of mathematics is in the concept that lies behind the formula and if you can share a bit of that you're a good teacher.
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Old 21.06.2011, 14:07
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Re: Are English teachers smarter than Maths teachers?

I was watching a Ted Talk by Stephen Wolfram at the weekend which was about the way maths is currently taught in schools & how it could be done so much better. What you say is basically the same as his idea, get teachers to concentrate on the concepts of maths, how to figure out problems & let the students use computers to do the actual computation part as that is how it works in the real world. His idea is about engaging kids with maths instead of boring them. I wish it had been like that at my school as my maths teacher was rubbish, he bored us all senseless so we would start mucking about and ended up learning bugger all. My Higher English teacher was fabuous, she engaged the class with her teaching and nearly every class was a joy to attend. I failed maths & got an A in English.

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For me a formula is often just boring BS. Anybody with a pocket calculator can use a formula to solve a problem. The real beauty of mathematics is in the concept that lies behind the formula and if you can share a bit of that you're a good teacher.
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