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Old 12-20-2019, 12:35 AM   #1
GtrsRGr8
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This Book Maintains that College Professors Are Not Taught to Teach!

I ran across this book this afternoon, and was so impressed with what I read that I _felt_ that I _had_ to tell others about it! That doesn't happen very often with me.

(I think that this book will squeeze in (barely) this thread with "Deals". Please consider:
- There _is_ a savings, claimed by Amazon, of 5% (less than "print") right now.
- The book has just been published--December 10. The savings is bound to get better, over time, and maybe quickly, making this a better deal soon. (You've got time to wait because the material in the book is not likely to go out-of-date for quite a few years).
- One or more other vendors--I only checked Amazon--might have a bigger discount--maybe much bigger.
- If you set a price alert at, say, _ereaderiq.com_, you're bound to catch this book when it's got a bigger discount than now.
If you don't see the post later, hopefully it only will have been moved by a moderator to another subforum, and not deleted!)

The book is _Convergent Teaching: Tools to Spark Deeper Learning in College_, by Aaron M. Pallas and Anna Neumann. It's $28.45, from Amazon.

Now, about the contents of the book . . . . It supports something that I've found bothersome for a long time. (I'm speaking generally in the following--I don't know the circumstances in all states, of course, or even requirements by the federal government!) Prospective teachers of K-12 (for those who are not familiar with the U.S., that's kindergarten (preschool) through Grade 12 (the end of "high school" ("secondary school," is a more formal term, I think)) are required to take "education" (how to teach) courses in order to be certified as teachers. But for most colleges and universities, a prospective professor has to have _no_ training in teaching before he or she can be a professor! The results are predictable.

That problem seems to be at least one of the kind of circumstance that Pallas and Neumann address in their book. I have not read any of the book other than things in the (extended) preview; however, "Part I. A Roadmap" seems to address the theme of the book."

A matter of the nuts and bolts of the book . . . . it appears that there is at least one quality issue with the book, at least in the the first part of the section that I mentioned above. The first part of "Part I. A Roadmap" is in some kind of sans serif font; beyond that is a serif font of some kind. I briefly looked around for a link to report a "quality issue," but I didn't find one. Would someone kindly direct me to the place where I can report the issue? Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:24 PM   #2
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Two different fonts is a quality issue? I would only complain about "not readable at all". imho.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:41 PM   #3
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universities, a prospective professor has to have _no_ training in teaching before he or she can be a professor
That is true not only in the USA, but likely almost everywhere. It is propelled by the hunt for scientific excellence.

Reason is that the main job of a university professor is research. They are selected on their research qualities, the scientific reputation they have and how much funds they bring in. Some full professors even do not do many lectures any more and hand it off to assistant professors etc. Giving lectures is a side-task for them.

No surprise that the teaching quality of some professors is a bit wanting therefore. I have made the same observation.

To be fair there is also a paradigm change between high school and universities. Students of a university are expected to learn in a different (more self reliant) way as preparation for their future career. The lectures are only meant as an additional help, not to be seen as formal "teaching". A university professor is a lecturer, not a teacher.
And this is even more pronounced in universities outside the USA, to some degree deliberately. I have seen students from the US having problems with it.

One can discuss quite long what the pro-/contra arguments are. But it is true that one will never get knowledge presented as nicely as it was in school.
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lazyreadr View Post
That is true not only in the USA, but likely almost everywhere. It is propelled by the hunt for scientific excellence.

Reason is that the main job of a university professor is research. They are selected on their research qualities, the scientific reputation they have and how much funds they bring in. Some full professors even do not do many lectures any more and hand it off to assistant professors etc. Giving lectures is a side-task for them.
More established professors (at least in science and engineering) tend to do less lecturing because they can basically "buy" out of their required lecture time due to bringing in more research funds than other professors. This is supposed to be better overall for the university, since it brings in more money and increases the university's prestige.

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To be fair there is also a paradigm change between high school and universities. Students of a university are expected to learn in a different (more self reliant) way as preparation for their future career. The lectures are only meant as an additional help, not to be seen as formal "teaching". A university professor is a lecturer, not a teacher.
And this is even more pronounced in universities outside the USA, to some degree deliberately. I have seen students from the US having problems with it.
While all this is true, there needs to be some kind of standard. Anyone who's gotten a degree knows that some professors bypass bad, and even abysmal, to get to a new low level that's so bad it's unmeasurable. Those professors do not need to be lecturing, and perhaps if they can't bring in enough research to buy out of lecturing the university would be better off finding a professor who's better at both. Adjunct professors who lecture that poorly find themselves black-listed (although frequently slower than it should happen), but it should apply to associate, assistant and full professors as well. (And professors that bad should probably not be getting tenure.) Requiring some actual how-to-teach lessons be taken to gain tenure would probably help the problem immensely without overburdening faculty.

I've personally experienced an adjunct professor that not only couldn't teach, he'd call on students in class and make fun of them when they didn't know the answer. People would show up 45 minutes before class time to fight for the seats in the very back of class. That guy ended up black-listed after that semester, thanks in part to his posting the grades with full names and social security numbers on the classroom door. I complained to the dean of students office over that last bit, and they were not happy, since that's illegal to do in the US.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:35 PM   #5
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In his book "Bio of an Ogre" Piers Anthony spoke about the same sort of problem. He took courses in college to learn how to be an English Teacher but what he learned in college left him unprepared for teaching an actual class of students. Seems the college taught him a lot of terms etc. that were of little or no use for example in imparting knowledge to an actual class of high school students. As a result he got graded so poorly as a student teacher that he had trouble finding a job in education and eventually he gave it up and became a full time writer.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyreadr View Post
That is true not only in the USA, but likely almost everywhere. It is propelled by the hunt for scientific excellence.

Reason is that the main job of a university professor is research. They are selected on their research qualities, the scientific reputation they have and how much funds they bring in. Some full professors even do not do many lectures any more and hand it off to assistant professors etc. Giving lectures is a side-task for them.

No surprise that the teaching quality of some professors is a bit wanting therefore. I have made the same observation.

To be fair there is also a paradigm change between high school and universities. Students of a university are expected to learn in a different (more self reliant) way as preparation for their future career. The lectures are only meant as an additional help, not to be seen as formal "teaching". A university professor is a lecturer, not a teacher.
And this is even more pronounced in universities outside the USA, to some degree deliberately. I have seen students from the US having problems with it.

One can discuss quite long what the pro-/contra arguments are. But it is true that one will never get knowledge presented as nicely as it was in school.
I wouldn't put all the blame on the instructors either though. When I was in college one of the teachers bemoaned the fact that his students didn't have the reading skills etc. that they should have. This was in college mind you. They hadn't learned proper reading comprehension back in grade school and therefore were not prepared to grasp concepts that should have been easy to grasp in the textbooks. I have to wonder how many students are passed along to the next grade in high school for example because they are good at a sport even though their academic abilities are lacking. An old problem I imagine.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
In his book "Bio of an Ogre" Piers Anthony spoke about the same sort of problem... As a result he got graded so poorly as a student teacher that he had trouble finding a job in education and eventually he gave it up and became a full time writer.
Given the themes of pedophilia that turn up a lot in his works that may have been a good thing.

Last edited by issybird; 01-07-2020 at 09:52 AM. Reason: Removed link to explicit text.
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