The Center for Learning and Teaching Newsletter Teaching News

Author's Department

Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT)

Document Type

News Article

Publication Title

New Chalk Talk

Publication Date



In many respects the two quotes above exemplify two of the core issues in modern pedagogy and especially those related to active learning and teaching methodologies that highlight critical thinking. Einstein’s quote underscores the role of the professor as the facilitator which in turn enhances student-led learning and thus critical thinking. On the other hand Adams highlights the very critical dimension of education; namely that it is also a tool to be used in daily life and not just abstract theory for “ivory tower” academia. Thus, the two quotes combined also exemplify the philosophy of community-based learning which is at one and the same time an interactive and dynamic teaching strategy as well as a process of enhancing civic qualities among our students. In other words for university students to absorb critical thinking as a learning process as well as learn how to be citizens, students must act as citizens and faculty should attempt to provide the context within which this can happen; the community. Therefore, higher education must connect subject matter with the places where students live and the issues that affect us all. Nevertheless, universities appear to have failed to recognize the benefits of student engagement with their communities in acquiring knowledge. Thus, this short essay will explore some of the issues related to the pedagogic and academic benefits to be derived from such teaching strategies and make use of examples from my own teaching at AUC in order to contribute to the debate.