The reason why poor teaching survives

Greg makes an interesting point in this post, and he sure made me think. I’m don’t agree for a full 100%, as I’ve seen both poor teaching techniques survive for a long time but others also disappear rather quick. And: also in medicine there is also something such as ‘alternative’ approaches that just don’t seem to disappear. A third element I want to add is that maybe the different opinions on what is good education (often hiding in fact an opinion about the curriculum).

Filling the pail

If you were an engineer who was operating under a misconception about the laws of physics or the properties of different materials then your bridges would fall down. It wouldn’t matter whether you appealed to authenticity, excellence, creativity, inclusivity or anything else for that matter, the fact that your bridges fell down would be a problem. Your failure would be obvious and apparent to all. In the ancient world, you might have suffered a grisly fate and so I think it is no coincidence that columns and arches were understood pretty early in our history.

By Gun Powder Ma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Hadrian’s Arch, Jordan (By Gun Powder Ma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons) Medicine offers a more complex picture. On the one hand, a surgeon who kills his patients is going to run into trouble. However, if the alternative to surgery is certain death then even poor-quality, insanitary surgery might persist until something better comes along…

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