I have been reading a bunch of articles lately on education, and how to improve it. It’s been making me think a lot about my own education, especially in university. I just want to know if the major universities are ever going to give education more than a fleeting thought. Obviously, research is very important, but at what point should it be to the exclusion of teaching? If you never take the time to teach others what you know, then what? Knowledge not passed along is knowledge lost. I would hate to have toiled away at my research, uncovering new things, but not have shared that with others before I died. And I mean more than what can be passed along in a journal article. Too many journal articles are never read anyhow; if you actually take the time to teach someone what you know, then you know that knowledge will have been passed on. And when I talk about teaching, I mean more than just standing in front of a room and saying words. There was a class in university that I went to less than half the time, and I did better for it because I didn’t get confused by the abysmal teacher reading nothing but equations off a Powerpoint slide. I think that too often, profs forget that the people they are teaching could become some of the most important people in their lives: namely, politicians. If these future politicians (and their constituents) a never taught how exciting or amazing a subject is, that subject might not get as much funding the next year, because nobody cares about it. Teaching can be in your own self interests.
Building a Better Teacher (NYT)