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TIL A New Word

April 20, 2011 by David

Today I learned about a word I had never heard before: pseudo-teaching (PT). I came across this term at a great blog Action/Reaction that has an entire thread devoted to it here. This word is used to describe something that looks like teaching, sounds like teaching, might even smell like teaching (but that’s probably the students …) but isn’t actually teaching. So how do you know? How do you find out if you are teaching or pseudo-teaching?

Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of teaching?”



I’ll wait …



If you came up with something close to “so the students will learn” then we’re thinking along the same lines. But now here is another question, “How do you know when the student has learned something?”

That’s the kicker. We might be used to students telling us about how boring or fun a lesson was or if they thought they learned something but how do we really know?

Assess them. We’ll hold off with the caveat that the assessment must be aligned to the learning targets or intended outcomes so let’s just pretend for the sake of argument that it’s a great assessment that shows what the student knows and can do, or not, as the case may be.

So back to the original question of how to pick out pseudo-teaching vs. teaching:

  1. Pre-assessment
  2. Instruction/practice
  3. Post-assessment

How effective was Step #2? What was the change between 1 & 3? If the change was small (or even negative) it was probably pseudo-teaching.

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