Monday, November 25, 2013

The ART of Teaching?

Just this week, I stumbled upon a quote in an article that did not sit well with me.

"I . . . believe that teaching is a skill, not an art, and that, as with any skill, people get better at it with analysis and practice."

I have never thought of teaching as a skill.  In fact, I believe my credentials actually say "Master of Art in Education" and not "Master of Skill in Education." 

Whenever I describe my profession, I tell people that teaching is an art. We often think of art as the work produced by an artist to express thought and beauty, but art is also a "skill acquired by experience, study, or observation." (Merriam-Webster

I do not disagree that teaching is built upon skill, but in my opinion, it is not one single skill. Teaching is a set of many, many skills, with so many facets and angles that a teacher will spend her entire career practicing, examining and transforming her craft. Teachers must be creative, inventive, and imaginative - carefully cultivating individual human lives. Is that not as beautiful as the work of an artist that hangs upon a wall? Charged with the preeminent responsibility of engaging and inspiring dozens of young, developing minds, how can teaching NOT be considered an art? 

What do you think? Is teaching a skill? An art? Both?