How to Start an Argument

by Robert Pondiscio
July 20th, 2009

Over the weekend, as Tom Watson made his historic run to win the British Open, I ventured an opinion long held but never uttered out loud that “any sport where a 59-year-old can beat guys in their 20s is not a sport, but a skill.”  Winning a major golf tournament, it seems to me, might have more in common with winning a violin competition than, say, winning the 400-meter hurdles or the individual medley in swimming at the Olympics.   If age does not preclude you from performing at an elite leve, what does that say about golfers as athletes?

Now I’m wondering about teaching:  Can an alternatively certified 22-year-old really outperform a 59-year old veteran?  And, if so, what does it say about teaching as a “profession.”


  1. How are you defining “profession”?

    Comment by Mark Gardner — July 20, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  2. The question isn’t really whether some alternatively credentialed 22-year old can out perform some 59-years — teaching is a craft where the “gift” for it goes a long way.

    The question is whether you can build a teaching corps (or even a substantial fraction of one) out of alternatively credentialed 22-year olds.

    Overall, the credentialing issue seems to me to be heading in the fruitless direction of the reading wars and the math wars, where people seem more intent of defending the rightness of their approach than actual figuring out how to combine the differing approaches to solve the “on the ground” problem.

    Comment by Rachel — July 20, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

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