Art makes it personal

March 30, 2007

Anne Bamford's article (Opinion, March 23) is a refreshing reminder of the value of our art schools in fostering innovation. Most of us working in higher education know that lectures do little to enhance students' understanding of their subject. Similarly, essays and examinations are probably the least effective way of finding out what students know, understand and can do.

Art schools have long practised ways of teaching and learning that draw on students' skills, focusing on personalised learning. It is time for higher education in general to shake off the narrow text and lecture-based approach to teaching and learning and recognise that, for example, essay writing and examinations simply reward those students who have learnt to perform well with essay writing and examinations.

Richard Hickman
Cambridge University

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