Friday, December 12, 2008

That's your opinion

There's an interesting article in this week's THE about 'student-centred' learning, punctuated with some nice grumpy comments from Alan Ryan. Read the article here, but for a flavour of Ryan's take on things:
"Opinions can be all right, but students aren't here to learn opinions, they are here to learn how things are," he says. "In the past I have looked at a student's work and said, 'All you have done is copied this out', and hey've replied, 'Oh, did you want my opinion?'

"Well, the answer to that is, 'No, I don't want your opinion; what I want to know is if these are proper arguments, whether Plato was right about this - I couldn't give a bugger about your opinion; who could care less?'

"All this stuff about opinions - bloody hell, who wants opinions in physics, for example? The real thing is how you assess whether people know anything, and if they aren't obliged to write coherent prose and so on, then what evidence is there that they do? The answer, I am afraid, is not much."

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