Lesson yet to learn

December 22, 2006

As someone who bought a gleaming, leak-free Suzuki triple in the mid-1970s, I agree with much of Stephen Heppell's analysis of a moribund higher education sector (Opinion, December 8). But I was alarmed at his view that "some 6 per cent of every university's turnover should be devoted to learning research".

Most academics have never heard of Rosenthal and Jacobson, are ignorant of investigations into perception and learning and are generally theory-less.

Instead of squandering resources on ill-conceived, unscholarly and increasingly "massaged" research in all disciplines, including education, we might better direct such wastage into helping staff become insightful pedagogues capable of assimilating some of the most resonant past research in teaching and learning - because much more investment is needed to achieve this than is expended on largely superficial in-house training programmes.

Ironically, the outcome would not just be more creative teachers but also more able researchers, perhaps even justifying Heppell's 6 per cent.

Chris O'Hagan

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