This is a comment from Karl Fisch from the link above:

Karl Fisch said...
Terry – admittedly the analogy is too simplistic. But let me say something even more provoking. I fundamentally disagree with the example you gave.

Here’s one of my goals for AHS. My goal is that in the very near future, if any AHS teacher is asked what they teach, they do not answer,

“I teach Math.”
“I teach Social Studies.”
“I teach English.”

My hope is that every single teacher at AHS would automatically say,

“Students. I teach students.”

I think it’s the same problem I saw with our sample mission statements for AHS. They included things like “extracurricular activities” and “safe and orderly environment.” To me, that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what a mission statement is. We do not exist to offer extracurricular activities or a safe and orderly environment. Those may be values or goals we have, but that’s not our fundamental purpose. They are simply means to an end. The mission statement is supposed to be what we are about, who we are, why we exist as an organization.

You see, I don’t think it’s your job to teach literature, that not why you “exist” as a teacher. Literature is just a means to an end. We don’t teach Macbeth in order for kids to understand Macbeth, we use Macbeth so that kids can understand good and evil and trust and betrayal. Our goal is not for kids to be experts on Macbeth and know who Malcolm is, our goal is to explore some of the universal themes of humankind and help make those themes meaningful and relevant to our students’ lives. To help our students better understand those big ideas so that they can apply them to their own lives and to the lives of those around them. And it doesn’t matter whether we use Macbeth, or some other piece of literature, or no literature at all.

So I fundamentally disagree because I don’t think you should be teaching a “subject.” You shouldn’t be teaching “literature” or “grammar” or even “writing” per se, you should be teaching students. And it’s not about “assignments” or “getting the job done,” is it? If your goal is to teach literature, then you’ll undoubtedly be successful. In fact, you’re successful right now. But the problem is, it’s not about what you teach, it’s about what students learn. And what students need. If one of our goals is for students to learn and understand how to communicate effectively in the 21st century – Language Arts in all its many forms – then there is no possible way to do that without technology. So, I have to disagree with your statement. Today, I don’t think you can teach – or more importantly I don’t think our students can learn - without it.