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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 8. 10 June 1970

'Too many poor teachers'

'Too many poor teachers'

New Zealand universities may have more poor teachers than they ought to have, according to Victoria University Council Member and former Wellington Teachers College Principal, Mr Walter Scott.

Speaking at an NZUSA Seminar at Victoria University on May 30, Mr Scott referred to the problem of lecturers and professors who "cannot give a coherent and audible lecture."

Mr Scott argued that the lecture system, buttressed by the atmosphere of the university, protects the poor teacher from the pitiless exposure suffered by his counterparts in the primary and secondary schools, but the failure it helps to concede is equally serious.

"Faced with the obvious fact that some do become good teachers and some don't, the university authorities; still do little to help the lecturer in difficulties.

"So far as I know, no regular system of helping inexperienced members of staff to master the simpler fundamentals of teaching has any where been established, though in-service training within departments would be relatively easy to institute."

Mr Scott referred to the 50-minute lecture as the universities standard method of instruction and suggested, that some of the lectures students receive are "dull, sad failures".

A large number of lectures, he suggested, "are reasonably successful expositions of matter already well presented in available textbooks, but are welcomed by many students because the exposition by the lecturer; does give them a clearer understanding of the subject, and they know they are getting a useful amount of examinable material.

Other lectures, Mr Scott noted, though breaking no new ground, are infused with the passion and sincerity of the dedicated scholar; and a few lectures are the utterances of acute and original minds grappling with fundamental principles or elucidating new, difficult ideas,

Because of the preponderance of the expository lecture, Mr Scott argued, it is important "to have competent, effective lecturers to deliver it lecturers with audible, well-produced voices, a confident and compelling manner, their material couched in sentences framed for speaking lecturers able to use every legitimate means to command attention.

"I am sure that an in-service scheme, under which the raw recruit received advice, instruction, and kindly criticism from an expert colleague, and he and his fellows met, with and without an expert, to talk over their problems, their successes and failures, would, if it were institute effect a great improvement in short time."