Unqualified critiques? 1

May 20, 2005

For one keen to trumpet academic values and the need for critical debate, it is a pity that Bob Brecher doesn't demonstrate them in his own column (Working Knowledge, May 13). He generalises uncritically about "what new colleagues are forced to endure" without any basis of evidence beyond the horror stories printed by The Times Higher .

Shouldn't he have checked research that has been undertaken into courses for new lecturers instead of resorting to cheap rhetoric? Shouldn't he have followed this own advice and engaged in critical debate about these courses? If he knew anything about them at all he would know that many (I cannot speak for all) encourage the participants to examine teaching in higher education in a critical and informed way. Indeed, we aim to turn out critical scholars of teaching who can question precisely the kind of slack thinking that Brecher allowed himself on this occasion.

David Gosling
Plymouth University

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