Letter: Inspiration is our job 2

November 30, 2001

The word "understand" is a cliche. It is a substitute for precise thinking and best avoided in statements about objectives for student learning ("Just 'apply', don't understand", THES , November 23).

Adamantios Diamantopoulos presumably devises ways to allow his students to show that they "understand".

They will "do" a range of things such as describe, analyse, apply, evaluate, theorise. The clearer he is about what is required of them, the better they will learn and the more clearly they will demonstrate what they have learnt.

There is a shift taking place between lecturer-centred and student-centred learning. The proponents of the old paradigm need to express their views so that what is good about the old can be preserved.

But polemical distortion and non sequiturs do not help. The THES , by giving space to an undue proportion of these, does a disservice to the old and the new.

Colin Evans
Academic staff development adviser
Birkbeck College

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