07 March 2010

On molehills becoming mountains. (This is a molehill)

..or indeed, given the state of the roads around here, a pot-hole. Systemically they are the same thing...

However! I was struck by this elegant account of how a student almost gave up because of a really trivial issue.

We (sorry, I) tend to concentrate on what we are supposed to be teaching, which is fair enough, but... What happens when exercises and of course assessments presuppose competence in quite different areas? Colleges often acknowledge that in gross terms, such as ICT skills (actually, "such as" is a misnomer... that's the only area, apart from "disabilities") but what about laminating? Selecting media? Poster design? Factors in competition construction? Guidance on how long it takes to process results of exercises?

These are the craft skills of teaching. I've addressed some of them at http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/ but queries about other topics are always welcome, even if the answer is, "I don't know" because an enormous amount depends on the discipline and subject and context.

Still, there is one rule. In your first year, always ask someone. (In your second to fifth year, excepting gross structural change, you risk looking like a prat, but so what?) (After your fifth year, you can claim to be an established eccentric... Or at least you could when I was starting out; I suspect things have changed now.)

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