In passing, I firmly believe that research should be offset by a
certain amount of teaching, if only as a change from the agony of
research. The trouble, however, I freely admit, is that in practice
you get either no teaching, or else far too much. Quoted in Bela
Miscellany, (Cambridge 1986).
We are kidding ourselves if we believe that the purpose of
undergraduate teaching is the transmission of information. Information
is an accidental feature of an elementary course in differential
equations; such information can nowadays be gotten in much better ways
than sitting in a classroom. A teacher of undergraduate courses
belongs in a class with P.R. men, with entertainers, with
propagandists, with preachers, with magicians, with gurus. Such a
teacher will be successful if at the end of the course every one of
his or her students feels they have taken "a good course", even though
they may not quite be able to pin down anything specific they have
learned in the course.
lessons I wish I had
learned before I started
...the best way to prepare students for careers in science and
technology in a world that is changing rapidly is not to train them in
the narrow skills that happen to be in hottest demand at the current
moment, since those are likely to be obsolete in a few years. It is
better to train them in more general skills, and in particular to
concentrate on fundamental phenomena. That is also the way to attract
the ablest students to science and technology, since they usually want
to feel they are doing something basic that advances human knowledge,
and not just tweak some process to increase profits.
From The decline of unfettered research by Andrew Odlyzko.
Verification (MSc. course at the School of Computer Science,
Reykjavik University, Italy). (Three-week intensive course, spring
Verification (MSc. course at the Department of Mathematics and Computer
Science, University of Camerino, Italy). (Autumn term 2008)
Algorithms (BSc. course for "working students" at the School of Computer
Science, Reykjavik University, Iceland). (Summer term 2008)
This ability, initially to communicate to others in various ways, is
in the end the way to clarify things for oneself. For when one
successfully communicates something, in reality one must make it clear
for oneself; every person who has the experience of teaching knows
that after teaching a subject one understands it more deeply than
before. Through communication with others and by means of that
communication and listening to the reactions of others, we deepen our
own thoughts. From Interview with Ennio
De Giorgi by Michele Emmer.
Only wimps do the general case. Real teachers tackle examples. Quoted in Steven G. Krantz, How to Teach Mathematics (a personal pespective) (AMS, 1993).
Last modified: Fri Nov 21 15:50:53 GMT 2008