Split-brain scholarship

December 12, 2013

Most of us at one time or another must have encountered students who say something like, “I haven’t done any of the reading, I bet it is rubbish anyway: in my opinion…”, and then proceed to spout nonsense. We then have to think of something polite to say in response, perhaps something on the lines of: “You don’t seem to have got the hang of scholarly discourse. Can I suggest you read X? Then let’s have a conversation.”

In “Signal and noise in the lecture theatre” (Letters, 5 December), a response to my piece on the evidence about lecturing (“The chalk and talk conundrum”, 21 November), Kevin Smith writes that lectures do indeed provide “essential functions”. How does he know? Is he applying the same burden of proof here as he would in his own discipline?

This is a phenomenon I have encountered throughout my career. It is as if academics have a “disciplinary” cortex in which they are well informed, rational, rigorous and careful, while in their “teaching” cortex they emote strident opinions. And the corpus callosum has been severed, so they are unable to spot the difference.

Graham Gibbs
Winchester

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Reader's comments (1)

I ran a workshop around the issue of learner-involvement a few years ago at LSE. A member of the staff group (a politics professor) said during one part of the discussion "I don't see what students can possibly learn from talking to each other in my area." He was right.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework