Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is "Teaching and Learning" a tautology?

Please bear with me. I just don't get it.

Universities used to have teaching committees and lecture rooms. Now they have committees, rooms, policies, and vice Presidents for "Teaching and Learning".

"Teaching and learning" seems to be a tautology to me. If students aren't learning then you are not teaching. Teaching is not giving lectures, setting assignments, and marking exams. Teaching only happens when someone learns something.

I think replacing "teaching" by "teaching and learning" has noble goals. It is trying to make this important point that many traditional "teaching" methods are ineffective and don't result in students learning much. Teaching and learning have to go together. You can't have one without the other. But, that is also why I think this redundant nomenclature may degenerate into a silly marketing exercise. 

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