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Effective Teaching Is A Skill That Researchers Can Learn

University professors, although highly trained in their subject, often have had no formal training in teaching. Even if they were teaching fellows as graduate students, their performance may not have been monitored, and they may not have had good role models. Also, because teaching skills are often not a qualification for promotion at large research institutions, many scientists acknowledge that they are not motivated to improve their performance in this area. Thus, some of the most innovati

Liane Reif-lehrer
University professors, although highly trained in their subject, often have had no formal training in teaching. Even if they were teaching fellows as graduate students, their performance may not have been monitored, and they may not have had good role models. Also, because teaching skills are often not a qualification for promotion at large research institutions, many scientists acknowledge that they are not motivated to improve their performance in this area.

Thus, some of the most innovative scientists are not necessarily good teachers, and many bright lecturers take great "leaps of logic," leaving their audiences far behind. In addition, cautions Bruce Alberts, who will assume office as president of the National Academy of Sciences July 1, "Many large laboratories represent a poor training environment for young scientists" (Cell, 41:337-8, June 1985). Alberts writes that in such labs, students are often treated like factory workers, "contributing [to a] production line. This...

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