Pedagogic chain reaction

March 13, 2008

What a pleasant surprise to find my chemistry-focused paper in a more general article ("Teacher-centred teaching", 28 February). There was an excellent summary of my key point - that lecturers' skills need to be taken more into account when developing materials that best support student learning.

This does not mean that courses should not be student centred; indeed, teaching must be developed to respond to the ways modern students learn. But, as I also point out in my paper, student-driven teaching does not necessarily lead to better learning, or better graduates; the way that we use student feedback to improve our teaching needs to be carefully balanced against the experience of the teachers, who sometimes "do know best".

Patrick Bailey, Dean of natural sciences, University of Keele.

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