Words of Wisdom from Frank H.T. Rhodes
Methods of Teaching and Learning
If what is taught has become a matter of concern, the question of how learning takes place has become an even more widespread and urgent concern. Though more is known about effective pedagogy than about the results of curriculum choice, numbers of writers conclude that the existing faculty emphasis on undergraduate teaching, such as it is, is misplaced and that more attention should be devoted to student learning rather than teaching. The goal and outcome of a successful undergraduate experience, the critics argue, should be learning, to which teaching makes a major contribution. But teaching is the means, not the end, of education. Learning is the product of education and teaching is but one means—though a significant one. To devote faculty time to tinkering with course requirements, to the neglect, some argue, of the learning outcomes associated with them, may be as inappropriate as the preoccupation and reimbursement of hospitals for length of patient stay rather than the beneficial results of patient care. The emphasis on teaching as an end in itself, rather than a means of learning, reflects a wider neglect of interest in pedagogy. The heavy reliance on the conventional lecture format—representing, some critics argue, almost everything that is the antithesis of what we know about the best methods of effective learning—is an unhappy example.
— Frank H.T. Rhodes. “Chapter 2: Science as a Liberal Art.” American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Science and the Educated American: A Core Component of Liberal Education. Cambridge, MA. 2010.