Time-warp teaching? 1

May 3, 2002

I doubt that the lack of academic response to Michael Loughlin's fundamental article (Features, THES , March 22), is due to fear. Far more likely is that most academics do not seem to think of applying their critical intelligence to teaching and learning.

The Quality Assurance Agency philosophy is based on the principle that there is little, if anything, wrong with university teaching, and that all that is necessary is that this fact be publicly demonstrated and the few instances of lapses identified. This is intrinsically improbable in a system that is based on essentially untrained practitioners who largely teach as they have been taught.

At best, the present system is craft based, but in general it does not even meet the criteria of a craft and is certainly not professional. At a time when genuine professionalism in university teaching is at last becoming a real possibility, the proposed scheme will turn the clock back 40 years.

Lewis Elton
University College London

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