Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

Scholar's duty to students

Scholar's duty to students

I have spent a good deal of time discussing the third of the university scholar's duties, namely to society outside: I have dwelt, moreover, almost wholly on ways in which the university can serve society directly, in particular by providing a greater range of vocationally oriented courses. I have hardly touched on the second of my university scholar's duties, that to his students. It is, of course, a vital duty. The day when students sal wide-eyed at the feet of their Gamaliel is long gone, but the university teacher wants still to do more than impart a sound grasp of his subject to each learner: he still wants to kindle the living spark of enthusiasm. At least I imagine he docs. Not many of us succeed too well in either of these objectives, but not, I think, for want of trying. Unfortunately, the teachers, on average, are no belter as teachers than are the students as students.

At the end of the last lecture of the last week of last term I was approached by a group of three or four students who, very politely, asked me whether I could please slow down my lecturing pace. They said they had discussed this together, and with others, before coming to see me. They were all agreed that they couldn't lake down the diagrams that I drew on the blackboard and also listen to all that 1 was saying after I had drawn them. It's a little distressing, of course, lo be told after nearly 20 years of lecturing that one is still going too fast, still only an average lecturer, but they were earnest and serious, and anxious to learn and one had to accept that they meant what they said. I agreed that I would slow down a bit. But I asked them whether, since we were being candid with each other, they would mind telling me if they had had this trouble in the last lecture. Oh yes, they had. Had they, I asked, and would they please give me a straight answer, had they read the set re ailing before they came to the class. Well, no they hadn't. What, none of you. Well, no, not really. Perhaps it wasn't quite fair of me lo point out that over half of the material of mat lecture, as of all those preceding it, was in the set reading in the set text, and that most of the diagrams were there too. As usual, the students turned out to be as well-intentioned as the lecturer—and about as short of perfect in performance.