Today I had the pleasure of meeting Robert Leamnson, Professor Emeritus of Biology at UMass-Dartmouth and author of “Thinking About Teaching and Learning.” Bob was here for a workshop related to his book, which is the selection for this year’s Faculty Reading Roundtable at Western.
Bob is sort of a gadfly in the higher education community. He is not into the “feel-good” approaches to education that one often encounters. I still have some processing to do before I decide how discordant his views are with those of the authors I’ve been reading since June.
You could say that his catchphrase is “learning is a biological activity” (a phrase from his workshop and also from his book, I think). I have read the first chapter of his book, I had the opportunity to pick his brain at lunch, and I attended his workshop. I think he may be onto something. He takes a scientific approach to learning, which is quite refreshing. It allows one to argue from first principles, instead of relying on experience, to make specific points about the learning process.
More to follow as the roundtable gets underway and I get further into the book.