Somewhat oddly, University Diaries only ever posts real philosophical claims in her comments. But here’s a good one. Some excerpts.
In front of the room a semi-comatose person stares sadly at PowerPoint slides which list the different sorts of volcanic eruption. The sad person reads what it says on the slide. Then he says Get out your clicker. What was the second kind of volcanic eruption? Click in the correct answer…
None of this is teaching. It’s data-transfer. With – whatever – a passive feedback mechanism.
Teaching, at the college and university level, involves a professor who models and encourages, through active human discourse with her students, living thought. Whether the subject is volcanoes or Volpone, the professor who teaches has in her own research and reflection learned to assimilate information into higher-level thinking about information generally.
In this scenario, information isn’t downloadable bits. It’s one element in a contested intellectual landscape, a player in a never-ending drama of scientific and literary and philosophical inquiry. If there’s no dialectical play in a university classroom between a professor’s mind and her students’ minds as, provoked by what she says and suggests about a subject of importance, they respond challengingly to her, and she to them, there’s no teaching going on.