Tact and the Pedagogical Triangle: The Authenticity of Teachers in Relation

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We must finally have the courage... to open up and keep open the realm of the natural, the unintentional and the involuntary. This is of special importance since this domain is obscured by the means-ends thinking of our time that stops at nothing—with neither the school nor educational theory standing in its way. —Jakob Muth (1962, p.47)

Teachers around the world are now commonly subject to standards defining their role and activity in terms of the effective application of the most efficient teaching methods, in terms of optimizing inputs and outputs, means and ends. Measures of student learning and competencies, of the “value” that can be “added” by teachers to student test scores have become the common currency for educators and administrators alike. Little room is left, it seems, for the unintentional and involuntary, for student individuality and autonomy—for anything outside of the quantifiable ends and the means for their attainment. For example, besides tying teacher remuneration to student outcomes, the US No Child Left Behind policy mandates “scientifically based” instructional strategies—ones that tightly script lessons in ways that exclude teacher and student spontaneity.