A recent article on TechCrunch, Why We Should Treat Teachers Like Software Engineers, highlighted some of the problems in the US education system (and indeed the UK & Australian systems) when compared to the Japanese & Korean education systems. Pointing out that better pay will get better teachers, and only briefly talking about working conditions (teaching time vs preparation), resourcing of schools, and respect for the profession. For me the very interesting part was the comments and discussion that followed on from the article.
Some of the comments pointed out that the working conditions of software engineers a dramatically different with non-performing engineers let go, which varies from educators. That Engineers produce products for consumption, while teachers educate people for the future. Unlike engineering, where most things can be quantified, measured and analysed. The enabling of a mind for thinking is a qualitative process with many and varied possibilities. It required consideration of the individual’s predispositions and the surrounding culture’s dominating influences. To layer analysis over the top of so many variables would require an astronomical level of computing power and individual monitoring as to make it impossible at this time.
The useful thing I did get from this TechCrunch discussion was a book, Finnish Lessons, which looks at the history of the Finnish education system and will hopefully provide some ideas on how they have achieved on of the highest education rankings in the world.