Tug of war over teaching: The goal is proficiency
By KRISTEN BRUSTAD
June 18, 2011
The University of Texas at Austin is currently home to the premier Arabic Studies program in the nation. Our Arabic Language Flagship is a federally funded mandate to produce the professionals the United States needs to understand political currents in the Arab world, including revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. We have graduated 26 students in the past three years with advanced to professional proficiency in Arabic.
I and my colleagues in Arabic are not at the top of the efficiency charts in terms of the number of students taught — certainly nowhere near the top 20 percent cited by Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
What seems to be efficient in terms of numbers of students in a classroom with an instructor turns out to be inefficient in terms of skill development. Teaching is one thing; learning is another.
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