Adam Smith's Cure for the Malady of Mediocre Teaching
Silverman, Ronald H. (2002) Adam Smith's Cure for the Malady of Mediocre Teaching. In: Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series, Spring 2002, Hofstra University.
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In the Spring 2002 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series Professor Silverman reflects broadly upon the shortcomings of university teaching. All too many university teachers fail to match their teaching potential. While many commentators have suggested ways to improve teaching skills, few have contributed more than Adam Smith. Unknown to many experienced professors, pedagogical failure is astutely analyzed by Smith in Book V of his famous Wealth of Nations. After describing and analyzing the teaching failure of the Oxford University faculty of his day, Smith prescribes a simple, if controversial, remedy. He argues persuasively for a system where student consumers play a large role in compensating their teachers directly. As a result, Smith forcefully suggests that economic reasoning may be very useful in addressing a central problem of American higher education.
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