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The Teacher and the Surgeon - A short tale about the pace of educational change

Here's an often told story that puts educational change in perspective. I can't remember where I first heard it but I've told it many times since to illustrate how slowly education is changing to meet the needs of today.

A teacher and a surgeon from 100 years ago were magically transported from their places of work to an operating theatre and classroom today. The surgeon commented first.

"What's this?" He cried. "What are all these machines for? These lights, these controls on the wall, the screen here that moves over the bed, are these cameras, what do these controls do? Does this go over your ears? What is all this? It is nothing like my operating theatre I would not know where to start or what to do. The world of the surgeon has completely and utterly changed."

The teacher then arrived in the classroom.
"Oh yes" he said. "The tables, the chairs. This is where the teacher sits. The books on the shelves, the board looks a little different but is still here at the front where everyone can see it. Yes it's all pretty much as I remember it! I'll be fine here, not a lot has changed in the world of the teacher."

Education. Changing at the margin!


A friend of mine also tells a related story about CPD. If you were ill and went to the doctors, you'd be pretty worried if the doctor had simply 'practiced' and not kept up to date with training and changes to the medical profession, new findings, new cures and treatments etc... So why do we not invest in educational CPD in a similar way. It appears we're happy enough for our children to be taught using out of date methods in out of date buildings, but we wouldn't settle for it in any other field.

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