Updated post from June, 2009. You’d think that college professors would actually have to prove their merit as teachers before sticking them in front of 200 fresh-faced freshman. Think again, mon frer. At most universities
professors aren’t hired on the basis of their teaching chops. As long as they are researching and publishing, the whole teaching gig is an often unwelcome extra task with which they’re saddled.
Your average high school teacher is a much more capable and well-trained educator. Grade school teachers get waaaaay more training in good pedagogical methods than do college professors. Grade school teachers also teach the same subjects over and over, not only to multiple classes in a single day, but year after year. Practice makes perfect (at least in theory). High school teachers are also directly concerned with how well you learn the materials. They’re often evaluated, at least in part, on student performance. College profs? Not so much.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some college professors who were truly awe-inducing educators. I’ve had high school teachers who couldn’t have taught a toddler how to drool with a lollipop taped to their forehead. (The teacher’s forehead. Not the toddlers. Although that would work to, come to think of it.) In both cases however, they were the exception.
Enter AcademicEarth.org and OpenCulture.com– video lectures from some of the best college profs around the country. If your current prof, errr … sucks when it comes to educating you about stellar mass black holes, why not check out Dr. Bailyn’s lecture on the subject to his Yale students. Or if your prof’s lecture on modern-day Russia focused on video clips of Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV (“I vill cruush you.”), try Dr. Bradley’s Princeton lecture.
Currently, there are lectures in everything from Astronomy, to Engineering, to Religion. Go peruse their offerings. Your grades may thank you for it.
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.