In geography, as in so many other disciplines, teaching has been a sorely neglected subject for debate and discussion. When I say 'teaching' I do not mean the nuts-and-bolts of how to give a good lecture or how to use computers in multiple-choice assessments. Instead, I am referring to two deeper issues. The first is what a university education is and should be about. The second is how that education is shaped by and influences the social formations in which it is embedded. It is a peculiar fact that the many people who spend so much time designing and delivering degree courses spend so little time reflecting on the means and ends of pedagogy. I include myself here. Since 1995, when I landed my first university post, several hundred students have encountered me, my reading lists and my assessments. Yet I have rarely paused to reflect deeply on quite what my teaching practices are designed to achieve. Instead, I have operated with a definite but (crucially) unarticulated philosophy of learning. And I have done so under institutional conditions over which I have only partial control. I am surely not alone. Geography is marked by a conspicuous non-debate over pedagogy. It is rarely discussed at conferences and professional meetings, let alone in print. Symptomatically, the few journals devoted to a formal consideration of teaching and learning--such as the Journal of Geography in Higher Education--are preoccupied with 'technical' matters (such as formative assessment, virtual field-classes, student-centred learning and the like). Missing is an articulate discussion of the why and wherefore of university teaching in the current conjuncture.
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