Because of this, the academia has continuously tried to define and categorize teaching, in order to determine and improve its efficacy. These attempts of categorization have often led to perceiving teaching variously as “science” and “art”, pitting one definition against the other.
Students can be from different age groups, regions, social backgrounds, may be eager or not so keen to learn, may have different personalities. The same goes for teachers. Subjects may vary from micro biology to dancing and all the other things between and beyond. Despite this diversity, or perhaps because of it, there is an undeniable need for standardized teaching techniques, so that the extraneous factors affect the learning process but little, and maximum knowledge is imparted effectively to maximum number of students, in the shortest possible time. This calls for a scientific approach to teaching, which recommends the use of a pre-determined methodology to aid learning.
The application of operant conditioning to education is simple and direct. Teaching is the arrangement of contingencies of reinforcement under which students learn.....Teachers arrange special contingencies which expedite learning, hastening the appearance of behavior which would otherwise be acquired slowly. (Skinner, 1968)
Proponents who perceive teaching as a science believe that it is possible to eliminate chance from the process of education, which can be ordered, monitored and controlled, much like in a scientific experiment. According to them, this can be achieved by the careful choice of learning materials and the rate at which they are introduced, modulated student-teacher interactions, and most importantly, an unbiased focus on learning outcomes.
Teaching, like science, is at its best when it is passionate. But like good scientists (and unlike artists) teachers need not--should not be captivated by their own performance.