Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good scholars make good teachers, or not
Tom Smith

This is interesting.  A study that purports to find no correlation between law professors who are productive scholars and those who are rated effective teachers by their students.  I don't know how good the study is, not having looked at it, but I don't find the results all that shocking.  So few of us can be outstanding both as scholars and teachers, not to mention as athletic prodigies, and spiritual inspirations, as well as paragons of a profound Christian humility.  A few questions-- I wonder how effective student evaluations are at measuring teaching effectiveness?  I have seen studies that suggest that good looking teachers who don't demand much from students rate highly.  I wonder why active scholars tend to rate lower?  Do they invest less or try less hard as teachers?  Teach at too high a level?  Find teaching less satisfying, and that shows?  Emphasize the theoretical aspect of law, which students are notoriously indifferent about?  Now we need a study to see how blogging law professors do as scholars and teachers.


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Tom Smith


I think that scholarly teachers tend to require a higher level of preparation in order for a student to appreciate what is happening in the class. I would be interested to track how students respond to "scholarly" teachers in relation to their time spent preparing for class.
Teachers that tend to rank high on evaluations seem to teach rather straight forward classes. Students often believe this is more relevant to their life and to the bar exam. Unfortunately, as private loans compound, the importance of immediately passing the bar exam becomes more urgent than learning for the enjoyment of understanding.

Posted by: Timotheus | Jul 25, 2006 9:25:18 PM

I tend to get very high teaching evaluations. I would like to think that it is because I am a hot tamale, but I suspect that it might be because I'm a decent teacher. Bummer.

Posted by: skeptical | Jul 26, 2006 5:18:01 AM