I am employed at an university in my country. I am teaching the statistic. The rule of the students is to spoon feed. That is, they expect the lecturer to care about them as if they are at high-school. I told my dean that this is not my role. They said that I need to ask the students to solve the questions on the board. Also, to ask the students many times about the new subject. I told them that as I lecture, I give the new class, asking some questions. The students must prepare for their tutorials. They must work with me, then, at the end I would help them with the common difficulties they face.

The dean disagreed with me and said that that is a very bad way of teaching.

My question is, is my responsibility similar to the one of a high-school teacher? Please give me advice.

  • Probably you need to discuss this with your university. Your dean or the head of the department or the lead professor in your group will all be possibilities. – puppetsock Feb 24 '20 at 15:00
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    While it's an interesting question in the broad sense, I don't see how we can answer this here. Clearly your responsibilities as a lecturer in your current position are what your dean says they are. Continuing to teach in a way that your dean says is "very bad" is, well, a very bad idea. – Jeff Feb 24 '20 at 16:12

Teaching and studying at a university is different, and I sympathise with your frustrations. However, learning how to effectively study in a university needs to be learned as well. We cannot expect students just out of school to know how to study. So if the stats lecture takes place early in the program, as is the case with the stats lecture I teach, then you cannot expect them to behave like proper students yet. Part of the learning goals of that lecture must be to teach them how to study. Just assuming that they know how to study and how a lecture at a university works, is just going to lead to endless frustration on your part and on the students part. This means you will have to spent a substantial part of your teaching time on the learning how to study part, rather than statistics. We do not have to pamper students, but we cannot expect miracles from them either.

  • Thank you so much for your answer. But, does I need to teach them as a spoon feeding. Do I need to repeat the lecture again and again. For example, suppose I have them a class on mean and skew distribution. Then, I believe I will not accept from them any participation at the first time as the topic is new. And my role here is to teach them this topic. But, at the tutorial they must practice and do not accept me to repeat the theory again. The dean said you need to teach them as spoon feeding!!!!! – Maryam Feb 24 '20 at 15:36
  • You seem very angry. I suspect that your dean wants you to be realistic about what your students can do. It is a very common mistake to overestimate what students should be able to do, and than be frustrated by how little they can do. Spoon feeding is bad, but you do have to pick up your students from where they are rather than from where you think they should be. My advice right now is to calm down. When you are calm again look at the instructions you got from your dean assuming (s)he knows a lot more about teaching than you do, and wants to help you overcome your deficiencies. – Maarten Buis Feb 24 '20 at 17:55
  • Re: "teach them how to study". Perhaps you could clarify if you're thinking about math/statistics-specific skills that need teaching, or general college study practices -- and if the latter: are all the freshman teachers expected to simultaneously spend time teaching the same skills? – Daniel R. Collins Feb 25 '20 at 1:46

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