I came away from my years of teaching on the college and university level with a conviction that enactment (扮演角色), performance, dramatization are the most successful forms of teaching. Students must be incorporated, made, so far as possible, an integral part of the learning process. The notion that learning should have in it an element of inspired play would seem to the greater part of the academic establishment merely silly, but that is nonetheless the case. Of Ezekiel Cheever, the most famous schoolmaster of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, his onetime student Cotton Mather wrote that he so planned his lessons that his pupils "came to work as though they came to play," and Alfred North Whitehead, almost three hundred years later, noted that a teacher should make his/her students "glad they were there."
Since, we are told, 80 to 90 percent of all instruction in the typical university is by the lecture method, we should give close attention to this form of education. There is, I think, much truth in Patricia Nelson Limerick's observation that "lecturing is an unnatural act, an act for which God did not design humans. It is perfectly all right, now and then, for a human to be possessed by the urge to speak, and to speak while others remain silent. But to do this regularly, one hour and 15 minutes at a time ... for one person to drag on while others sit in silence? ... I do not believe that this is what the Creator ... designed humans to do."
The strange, almost incomprehensible fact is that many professors, just as they feel obliged to write dully, believe that they should lecture dully. To show enthusiasm is to risk appearing unscientific, unobjective; it is to appeal to the students' emotions rather than their intellect. Thus the ideal lecture is one filled with facts and read in an unchanged monotone.
The cult (推崇) of lecturing dully, like the cult of writing dully, goes back, of course, some years. Edward Shils, professor of sociology, recalls the professors he encountered at the University of Pennsylvania in his youth. They seemed "a priesthood, rather uneven in their merits but uniform in their bearing; they never referred to anything personal. Some read from old lecture notes and then haltingly explained the thumb-worn last lines. Others lectured from cards that had served for years, to judge by the worn edges .... The teachers began on time, ended on time, and left the room without saying a word more to their students, very seldom being detained by questioners .... The classes were not large, yet there was no discussion. No questions were raised in class, and there were no office hours." 【題組】30. Whose teaching method is particularly commended by the author?
(A) Ezekiel Cheever's. (C) Alfred North Whitehead's.
(B) Cotton Mather's. (D) Patricia Nelson Limerick's.