31 ene. 2011

Teaching and Research (II)

If teaching and research are diametrically opposed in our minds, then we will tend to have impoverished, caricatured views of both.

*Research becomes even more "esoteric," if we believe that it could not possibly be of interest to our students. (See Cordon Sanitaire below). The more removed research is from the subject of instruction, the better, according to this mentality.

*Teaching becomes more and more a matter of transmitting very basic knowledge. No intellectual curiosity enters. So you might as well have an M.A. level instructor as a PhD. Customer satisfaction becomes the model and for-profit universities step in to train students vocationally.

We don't offer our students the very best of our research, our best ideas, because those ideas are too highly specialized.

My proposal is to involve undergraduates in research and to start thinking about research differently. I don't mean that we would not allow for more specialized projects, but that we would start to think of an expanded audience.

4 comentarios:

Clarissa dijo...

I find teaching extremely useful for my research. I can spend months thinking about my research project, and still it's insufficient.

Then, I come into the classroom and begin to speak to students. And new ideas just start rushing in as I speak. So I absolutely agree that there is no need for a divide between teaching and research.

Of course, we don't always get a chance to teach courses that are advanced enough for this to happen. And don't get me wrong, I love teaching the language. But teaching only the language for an entire semester is not as rewarding in terms of my own intellectual development. There is a big temptation to fall into a rut and just repeat the same activities I did in the past in the same course.

Jonathan dijo...

Yes. I love teaching language too and have learned a lot from the process, but too much of it reinforces the research-teaching split in precisely the way I was talking about.

Bill Hawthorne dijo...

Dear Bemsha Swing,

My name is Barbara O’Brien and I am a political blogger. Just had a question about your blog and couldn’t find an email—please get back to me as soon as you can (barbaraobrien(at)maacenter.org)


Jonathan dijo...

You can email me at jmayhew "at" ku.edu.