Letter: Only connect 1

December 7, 2001

Jon Bryan (Letters, THES , November 30) tells us that the moment when a student suddenly "gets it" is something that just "happens". It is wrong, he says, "to seek to do this by design and as a teaching strategy". What a strange argument. Surely as professionals we use many ways, including peer-assisted learning, to help students make connections and gain insights?

Lecturers do not "fail to take responsibility" when they make judicious use of peer-assisted and collaborative learning activities. On the contrary, they are taking their responsibilities to challenge and inspire very seriously. There is a great deal of evidence that a mixed menu of planned activities stimulates intellectual development, and enhances acculturation into academic language and community more effectively than a single-ingredient diet of "sages on the stage".

Dilly Fung
Faculty of arts
University of Southampton

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