Only transmit?

November 12, 2004

Frank Furedi has certainly provoked me this week (Working Knowledge, November 5).

There are, of course, many academics without a qualification in "teaching" who are excellent lecturers and one reason may be because their teaching is research-led, as suggested. But to state that teaching is about "merely transmitting knowledge" is a most narrow view.

The skills required to facilitate learning are many, and they can be developed through the process of education, or "lecture training", as Furedi describes it.

It may be a very valuable exercise for particular students when researchers communicate their insights.

But there will be many more students who will have a variety of learning needs that encompass more than researchers can provide.

The implication of the article is that although students may be involved in the "journey", this helps the researchers rather more than the students.

"It is only when you succeed in communicating your 'discoveries' to students that you can be sure your work matters."

Well, we can see who matters in Furedi's classroom.

Patricia Wood
Hertfordshire University

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