Lecturers bored by lessons in teaching
… is the headline on the front cover of the Times Higher Education Supplement last week (April 22nd 2005).
Some young academics are so unimpressed by universities' attempts to teach them how to lecture that they are dismissing their training as a waste of time.
Fortunately, Warwick isn't one of the institutions cited as suffering from this particular malaise, but still, it raises interesting questions:-
- Do young academics need training to teach?
- Has the range of skills required changed much over the last few decades?
- If so, has the training changed accordingly?
- If training is a good idea, why do (some) young academics seem to resent it?
As is so often the case, I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but they interest me nonetheless. When I (briefly) taught a little bit of Comp Sci, I didn't find it difficult in the sense of requiring skills which I didn't have, but it was tremendously hard work – the preparation, the physical effort of the lectures, the setting of coursework and exams, and oh god, the marking. Not in a hurry to do that again. But I can't think of a way in which training would have helped any of that.