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Saturday, January 26, 2013


But don't we see this again and again in life outside academia? Politics, anyone?

I would agee, Ruth.

"...warm, enthusiastic, and lively nonverbal behaviors."

As long as one is giving a lecture of some substance this would actually count as doing a good job. I try to be warm, enthusiastic and lively in the classroom. Not because I want good student reviews (which are much more closely tied to grades, honestly) but because I want to engage my students, help them see the importance of the topic, and inspire them to learn and to think.

Dr. Fox has been President of the United States since 2009.

Well, this is appalling, but let me note a difficulty with the experiment. If you take smart people and start them thinking about a subject in a contained setting, they are likely to teach themselves something. Not being jarring, and providing anecdotes that relate at least superficially to the topic, even if they don't have further content, will continue that process.

I am, for example, a daydreamer, who sometimes fades out after the first few minutes of a lecture or a sermon, but learns something anyway.

AVI, I'm sure you're right, but that's just to say that people can learn in spite of blowhard fakes who aren't teaching them anything. The mark of a good teacher shouldn't be whether he can outright prevent independent learning.

Really, we should all have more self-respect than to admire someone who's supposed to be explaining something and instead is projecting an appealing persona. The persona's fine, who doesn't like an entertaining style? But we ought to know whether we've been presented with a coherent argument or not, and whether we now understand something new or not. It's shameful to be so distracted by the pleasant manner that we're willing to give the professor credit for teaching us something we don't yet know. Or, what's just as bad, to say he's a "good" teacher without any regard for whether he's succeeded in teaching anything. Or to congratulate ourselves on learning when we haven't.

Right on, Texan99. Additionally, I think all involved should be grateful it wasn't a pyramid scheme presentation, only a harmless academic study.

What do you think RateAProfessor is all about? I've shadowed a few Dr.Foxes, they usually think they're great instructors. They fall for their own hype. If you get enough kids to say you are "amazing" without looking at what they've really learned, it's easy for a mediocre instructor to skate by on charisma and charm.

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