Lecturer’s lament

25 Nov

Borrowing a classic Seth Godin formula, I sometimes feel:

The more I teach the less they learn; the less they learn the more I teach.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. With experienced and well-read groups, classroom discussions can become an exercise in two-way participation and engagement. With less sophisticated groups, the lecturer has to do most of the work (one-way).

It's not just me, because students from other universities frequently contact me in my role as a magazine editor:

'I'd like to contribute to the magazine. Can you tell me what to write about and what style I should write in?'

The questions are reasonable ones, but they shouldn't have to be asked. They are because we're encouraging students to respond to the essay questions we set, in a prescribed format (academic writing complete with Harvard referencing). So the better we teach them to do well at university, the less we're equipping students to cope in the outside world where initiative rules over instructions.

One Response to “Lecturer’s lament”

  1. Greg Smith 27/11/2009 at 3:59 am #

    Oh, boy, Richard, you’re getting too deep. It’s an interesting conundrum. So should I just tell them to go find out for themselves? Then they wouldn’t do anything at all. Regards, Greg.

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