The College Influence on Student Character: An Exploratory Study in Selected Colleges and Universities Made for the Committee for the Study of Character Development in Education

By Edward D. Eddy Jr.; Mary Louise Parkhurst et al. | Go to book overview

3. The Concept of Teaching

It seems unfortunate that the most important part of what ought to be reported cannot be, for lack of any tool of evaluation. Having been even busier than usual at classroom activities, we would ask: To what end? We believe we have raised some important questions with enough impact so that some of our students have started seeking answers. We believe we have encouraged some of them to reject simple answers to complex problems and to recognize the labor and discomfort that are often the price that must be paid for understanding.

With perhaps a considerable number of students who have attended our classes, the results may well have been less fruitful than they expected. Our majors have, however, matured in a way one would wish and we like to think their association with us and with each other in our classes helped. To remove our bias, we can only say: Here are our seniors; think back to when they were freshmen and sophomores. If there is a change for the better, we probably had something to do with it; it represents in large part the results of our activities in teaching that particular college generation.

IN THIS WAY and with these mixed emotions, a department chairman in one of the institutions made his report to the dean. His thoughtful, bittersweet statement reflects the searching we found in good teachers everywhere to discover that spark which, in its mysterious way, lends a quality of excellence to a student's education.

In this chapter we explore the concept of teaching. The great majority of students in all the colleges and universities which we visited spoke frequently and freely of the impact of the good teacher on their lives. We mention "good" because it is obvious from the record of their conversations that mere teaching by itself guarantees no solid reaction. Only under certain conditions and only when certain qualities are present in the man and his

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