Moving beyond a craft

Tyler Cowen recently interviewed Atul Gawande on his podcast, Conversations with Tyler. It’s a great episode and worth listening to the whole thing, but one section in particular stood out to me. From the transcript:

COWEN: What’s the number one thing missing in medical education today, for doctors?

GAWANDE: I think the number one thing is an education around the fact that we are no longer a craft. It’s no longer an individual craft of being the smartest, most experienced, and capable individual. It’s a profession that has exceeded the capabilities of any individual to manage the volume of knowledge and skill required. So we are now delivering as groups of people. And knowing how to be an effective group, how to solve problems when your group is not being effective, and to enable that capability—that, I think, is not being taught, it’s not being researched. It is the biggest opportunity to advance human health, and we’re not delivering on it.

Having worked in the education sector for a decade, it’s hard to listen to that and not consider replacing “medical education” with “educator preparation” and “human health” with “student outcomes.”

Teaching is certainly a craft that requires significant training, practice, and experience to master, but it also requires a high degree of collaboration with other teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and students. Similar to medicine, it’s an under-taught, under-researched aspect of the profession.