Training aids 2

September 7, 2007

I agree with Susan Bassnett that there is a place for the eccentric inspirational teacher in universities but disagree on handouts. They can be used to reproduce material that supplements reading, to provide material more up to date than that found in textbooks and to pose questions that encourage students to engage with the subject. This approach represents a way of stimulating students to think and reflect in a way that simply delivering a well-honed lecture can rarely achieve. I can't see, for example, how writing a series of questions for students to ponder between classes or critically examining an extract in small groups in class and discussing it is spoon feeding. To assume it is betrays a lack of awareness of the purposes of many different kinds of handout in stimulating students to think for themselves.

Michael Somerton
Hull University

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