The Artisan Teacher with Reference to the Work of Dr. M.K. Key

An artisan is a craftsperson. Stonemasons, coppersmiths, bakers, tanners, playwrights, songwriters, and tailors are artisans. The fruits of their labor have utility. The item’s value is not entirely based on utility, however. It is also based on beauty, design, and delight. The artisan creates a thing that is not only sturdy and functional, but beautiful, and delightful to use. An artisan is one skilled in the applied arts, a craftsperson … a unique combination of artist, scientist, and skilled laborer. Excellent teachers are just like this. They are Artisans – artful, knowledgeable, skilled, master craftsmen.Michael Rutherford

Ben Franklin, Craftsman

Educational expert Michael Rutherford, a former teacher and principal who went on to found the Rutherford Learning Group, has devised the “Artisan Teacher” program of teacher training. The program focuses on improving instruction by improving the “craft” of teaching. The program is based on a series of 23 “themes,” or individual aspects of the teacher’s craft both inside and outside the classroom.

The most successful, gap-closing, achievement-producing teachers view teaching as a craft. They are artisan-teachers … skilled in the craft of teaching.Michael Rutherford

Dr. M. K. Key is a nationally-recognized author, organizational trainer and speaker, with a background in clinical-community psychology and corporate management. For the last ten years, Dr. Key has written extensively on a variety of subjects, and shared her work with her readers through her books and through her freely available “keyzines”, a compendium of monthly e-mailed newsletters.

In 2012, I was retained by Dr. Key to redesign and reorganize her Web site, with a particular focus on her keyzines. In the process, I came to realize how applicable her work is to the art and craft of teaching. She is not a licensed classroom teacher or administrator, but she understands the art, and craft, of teaching. Since 1997, she has devoted much of her time to teaching managers and supervisors in the corporate world a variety of lessons, from teaching supervisors how to more productively teach their employees – learners – new skills and helping managers motivate employees to work more efficiently, productively, and happily, to helping managers and employees ensure that their customers – our students – are delighted with their experience

Although I claim no special expertise in Mr. Rutherford’s work, I believe I can organize Dr. Key’s work within the rubric of Rutherford’ 23 themes of Artisan Teaching. Thusly, a teacher interested in learning more about the theme of chunking, for example, can also peruse the pertinent keyzines from Dr. Key that apply to the idea of “chunking” during classroom instruction.

The links in the main navigation tabs, or in the sidebar if you prefer, will take you to the “23 themes” page of this site, where you can see the 23 themes of Artisan Teaching and the “keyzines” of Dr. Key that correlate with each specific theme.

Thank you for the great gift that you have given your 3000+ subscribers. I have printed out every single issue, have them in a binder, and keep going back to them. — Heleen le Roux, MHSA, Dept. of Pediatrics, Rochester School of Medicine, writing to thank Dr. Key for her work.