Letter: Inspiration is our job 1

November 30, 2001

Having read Frank Furedi's article on how universities fail to challenge students intellectually, I found a column on how students can be taught to teach each other (Features, THES, November 23).

Furedi argued that university teaching is less about pushing and inspiring students and more about training them for a job. Agony uncle Eddie Blass said "peer-assisted learning strategies" were a good way for people to learn.

Important learning can occur when a student suddenly "gets it" and then seeks to impart this to fellow learners. But this is something that usually "happens" - it is wrong to seek to do this by design and as a teaching strategy.

Lecturers know more than students, that is why they are in that role. If we fail to take responsibility for teaching, inspiring and challenging them ourselves, the university will continue in the way that Furedi describes.

Jon Bryan
Lecturer in sociology
Newcastle College

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