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

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 3 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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands