The following exchange recently took place with respect to the issue of lecturing as a means of education; presumably as opposed to "cooperative" education sessions involving almost exclusively students themselves, perhaps assisted with reading materials:
>The manual didn't really help me - I cut my hand badly. It was only when my >dad came by and helped me that I understood what the manual was talking about.
Kevin, Are you saying that when your dad lectured you on the correct method, then you learned how to handle the saw correctly?
>I've just read your posting. I certainly wish that I was as >competent a teacher as you are. It would do my ego a lot of good to >think that I was able to impart knowledge through the spoken word.
Is this sarcasm? I feel that I can impart knowledge through the spoken word. I do it daily. I feel it is PART of my job description of being a teacher. Is Ben being so outrageous to think that he can also?
Throughout history there has been a tradition of great teachers. It is not merely by coincidence that universities, based upon the principal of teachers possessing great amounts of knowledge embodying the technology or wisdom of the day, imparting that knowledge to students, have existed for centuries in many "modern" cultures.
Even more primitive cultures pass on information vital to the continuation/survival of their smaller societies from village and tribal elders to younger children. It is not too difficult to imagine learning, necessary to the survival of humanity, going on in this fashion for literall tens of thousands of years before more "modern" cultures, with their schools and universities, developed.
Throughout human history there has been no substitute, as the cornerstone to a truly complete educational experience, of "teachers" dedicated to their task and subject matter, imparting their knowledge to larger numbers of "students".
Of courset today, books (and other means of gathering printed information, such as computers and their screens) and their reading and various "forums" designed to practically enable students to demonstrate their mastery of newly learned subject matter, are also a part of that complete educational experience.
But these later forms of educational experience are as spokes of the wheel emanating from the hub of the knowledge imparted by the talented, dedicated teacher. (Pardon the literary guilding of the lilly).
In any event, it is into the category of "spokes around the hub" that the concept of cooperative education involving groups of students discussion/learning certain subject matters must appropriately be viewed.
What good is a cooperative effort amongst students to learn without the "focus" provided by the teacher and his/her lectures in which principles of "judgment and wisdom" applicable to the subject matter being taught/learned are imparted?
Children cannot teach themselves many things in a void; this is less likely in the context of more sophisticated subject matters such as math. This seems so self evident that one wonders why anyone is questioning the central importance of the teacher, and the lectures they give, as the sin qua none of an adequate educational experience for youngsters in schools..