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LECTURES BY OUTSIDERS

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It is a familiar fact that in a great many courses too much stress is laid upon theoretical discussions and too little upon practical illustrations. Particularly is this true of courses in economics and related subjects. So often, indeed, is the student taught merely what should happen in a certain artificial set of circumstances that when he tries to fit the theories he has learned to the actual occurrences of the day, he is utterly unable to reconcile the two.

A practical means to teach the application of theory to reality is to interpolate in the regular series of lectures of a course a number of lectures by men who are prominent in the special field that are treated by the course as a whole. This method is occasionally adopted in Economics 1. The advantages to be derived from lectures by outsiders are two-fold. Such experts would, from their own personal experience, be able to illustrate more clearly the practical side of the subject matter of the course and link the substance of the course with actual existing conditions. Also, if these men were to uphold the side of a discussion other than that of the instructor, a much greater opportunity would be offered students for forming individual opinion. There would then be an offset to the present natural tendency of the student to bow to the superior judgment of the lecturer and, without attempting any thinking of his own, to become a mere memory machine.

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