Why Experts Are Not the Best Teachers (via Worst Professor Ever)

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I take issue with the author’s assertion that “knowing something at the PhD level benefits very few of your fellow citizens.” And the final comment, about “amateurs” being “cheaper to hire,” really gets under my skin, because one of my personal missions in my academic life is to raise the level of prestige — and therefore compensation — for part-time adjuncts and Limited-Term Employment faculty, the so-called “amateurs” this article seems to hint at. These people may not be tenured, they might not even have pushed their way through to a PhD, but they are phenomenally qualified experts in what they do, and a closing statement about the “cheaper” labor they offer colleges and universities only invites the Powers That Be to continue devaluing those excellent teachers.

On the other hand, this post taps into my own philosophy of teaching — that the best teachers consider themselves perpetual students — and the post does a good job of explaining some of the reasons why this seems to be true.

Also, keep an eye out for the link to the interview with Ann Daly. It’s also controversial (and, in my view, a bit counterproductive), but Daly, too, offers some very interesting ideas.

Whatever you might think of these posts, they’re definitely good food for thought. And I’d love to hear some of your comments, here or on the original posts.

I admit, that’s a deliberately controversial title. The whole notion of ‘expert’ has become problematic lately, as more and more people catch on to the fact that pieces of paper and honorific statuettes and bumper stickers mean jack squat about your ability to communicate your esoteric knowledge to other people. It so happens that last week’s bidness (yes, I actually do have some, hence my Johnny-Cash-inspired policy of inviting eminent guest blo … Read More

via Worst Professor Ever

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