Talking down teaching

May 17, 2002

It is suggested that academics "do not seem to think of applying their critical intelligence to teaching and learning" (Letters, THES, May 3).

Many will find such a statement insulting and untrue. The status of teaching is not served by perpetuating a myth that undermines colleagues. Such attitudes create a gulf between academics and academic developers and reinforce the notion that academic developers know nothing about academic work.

They also infringe an elementary pedagogic principle: to improve someone's learning, start by acknowledging what they know, not by disparaging their achievements.

Stephen Rowland

Professor of higher education

University College London

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