What a beautiful essay this is!

Bernard Fryshman teaches physics. He describes the magic of the classroom, the anticipation of the young people looking to him for guidance, knowledge, wisdom, insight, discussion, and, yes, humor.

What he describes cannot happen by sitting in front of a computer watching someone lecture or seeing videos.

MOOCs are allegedly the wave of the future, and surely they have a place for some people.

But read Fryshman and you will see where the riches of learning are buried in plain sight.

What he describes is so beautifully written that I have trouble finding the right excerpt, but try this one, then read the whole thing yourself:

Experienced instructors know how to address the blank stare, and are able to evoke expression from students who seat themselves at the back of the room. Reinforcement, encouragement, constructive argumentation all help develop patterns of thinking and behavior which will long outlast the specific topic being taught.

A traditional college education usually comprises 40 or so separate courses offered by as many different faculty members, each of whom will bring to bear those qualities and strategies appropriate to the subject, reflecting his/her character and talents. Students will be brought into discussions where they will venture opinions – and defend them without anger. Most will learn to evaluate disagreeable perspectives and remain friends with both proponents and opponents.

They will learn how to change their minds, to deal with mistakes, and to respect the rights of others.

Faculty members know how to jostle students into active learning. As often as not they are enthusiastic advocates as well as practitioners of the subject at hand, and students will experience the passion as well as the process of a presentation.

Learning from a scholar enables a student to acquire knowledge in an organized framework from someone who has assimilated so much, and knows how to provide a roadmap that is uniquely effective for each particular group.

A scholar knows how to form connections with other courses and plant ideas and insights that will bear fruit in a subsequent course, or later in life. Students must be taught how to approach the unknown, the impossible, the unanticipated and the future. It is the competent, confident scholar/faculty member who will see the need for this kind of learning and have the ability to present it.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/02/28/wonders-traditional-college-classroom-essay#ixzz2ucjRrvfL
Inside Higher Ed