Look, It’s Your Choice

Another post on teaching and learning, I’m afraid. Having just read this profoundly insightful statement by a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who is also the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award, the Carnegie Foundation’s United States University Professor of the Year Award, and the Oersted Medal bestowed by the American Association of Physics Teachers …


Good teaching is simply putting into practice those principles that are known to result in effective learning.


I must ask you something. (N.B. As I hope to make clear at some point, I don’t entirely disagree with His Tautological Eminence, but I don’t entirely agree, either. Also, please know that I’m feeling a bit of remorse about the high snark quotient of this post so far. I will try to do better.)


So, if you had to choose a teacher in each of the four pairs below — for any subject, it doesn’t matter: British literature, calculus, botany, dental hygiene, stand-up comedy, chess, residential plumbing, history of magic, yoga — whom would you choose? I’ll return to this once you’ve made your choices. Remember: good teaching is simply teaching that teaches something to someone! (Okay, okay, but for the record, I said only that I would try to do better.)


First pair:


The Wizard of Oz …
Or Professor Marvel, a.k.a the man behind the curtain?


Second pair:


IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer …
Magnus Carlsen has been described as the greatest chess player of all time.
or flesh-and-blood and kindadorable fashionista Magnus Carlsen, current world champ?


Third pair:


Steven Colbert Conducts Mock Briefing At White House
Stephen Colbert …
or Wolf Blitzer?


Fourth and final pair:


First Dumbledore or second?
First Dumbledore or second?




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