Wednesday, 5 June 2013

No Lectures are Good Lectures

I don't know if this is some sort of academic urban myth but this story has a certain appeal.
There was once a lecturer who decided to take a different approach to his teaching. Instead of lecturing on his subject during the timetabled periods, he decided to give the students a copy of the syllabus and a reading list. After that the students were left largely to their own devices when it came to studying the subject. However, they were not left unsupported. The lecturer said that he would make himself available to help every week during what would have been the lecture time; he would go to the lecture room each week and be available for consultation by any students who had questions or problems that needed to be addressed.
The first few weeks went by without any students coming to see him. This was perhaps not unexpected; it was early days - there was plenty of time before the exams. However, as the weeks went by still no students appeared. The lecturer became a little concerned. By the time of the exams, no students had appeared asking for help. The lecturer was now very worried. How would they perform in the exams if they hadn't had the benefit of his wisdom.
He needn't have worried. All of the students passed the exam and what is more they passed with higher marks than had students from previous years when they had been taught!
And the moral of the story ... is lost when you tell it to some students these days (autodidactically speaking)!