Thinking not required

May 1, 2014

Hurrah for Rowan Williams (“No fooling about impact”, Opinion, 17 April). The one unifying factor of every degree should be critical analysis, training to think, bringing enlightenment to the masses. Unfortunately, this is labour intensive. Meeting targets of raising “D” students to “C” or 2:2s to 2:1s is achieved much more efficiently by teaching the answers to exam questions for students to doggedly commit to memory.

Students are well aware of this. You may lead a horse to water, but you cannot make a student think. Attempts to do so are enjoyed by a few students but call down wrath from many in teaching evaluations. Besides, the bulk of graduates, including academics, are employed to “do”, support the CEO, and not think. It isn’t always good for employability!

Hugh Fletcher (retired)
Lecturer in genetics
Queen’s University Belfast

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