James Redfield teaches Greek at the University of Chicago. He also knows a thing or two about different styles of teaching. Students, he observes, often prefer that he “take control” of a class and just tell them what he knows. In an essay on the Web site of the U. of C.’s Center for Teaching and Learning he writes:

“One of the major issues about discussion teaching . . . is that everybody is for it, except maybe the students.  I have a short list of the things that everybody knows are good, but nobody is quite clear why.  Discussion teaching is on that list. . . . 

“Some people seem to think that somehow discussion is a way in which people individualize themselves, and everybody gets to have their own opinion. The lecture is much better for that because, as I say, it leaves you alone. Discussion is a consensus process, and, insofar as it is working, it creates a group that tends to draw people closer and closer together and cuts off the edges on them.”

Read the whole thing–even if you don’t buy it, the thoughts per word ratio is off the charts. (Yes, I know, it originally was a talk he gave in 1988.)

I love that list of “things that everybody knows are good, but nobody is quite clear why.” What would you add to it? Or should I just tell you?

(Hat tip to Savage Minds.)