Profs should focus on education, not teaching

October 1, 2013

The emphasis on teaching that many PSE institutions have focused on lately comes at a cost, as “the more we as a society emphasize teaching at universities, the less we emphasize education,” writes University of Waterloo professor James M. Skidmore in a recent Globe and Mail op-ed. Skidmore explains that simply teaching -- getting the course content across to students so that they can merely complete the required content and get good grades – can limit what students learn. “An educating professor doesn’t teach the subject; she educates the student. This requires understanding the student not as a consumer of subject matter, but as the product of an educational process,” says Skidmore. Skidmore does clarify that professors should teach students some basic skills and techniques that will help them learn the material; but says that it should be “with a view to preparing students to take on responsibility for their society.”Globe and Mail