Teaching or research: what goes first?

Teaching or research - what goes firstBeing a university professor is very complex and demanding.

Professors generally are required to perform the following activities:

  1. Teach, conducting lectures and seminars; and mentor students.
  2. Perform advanced research in their fields, publishing their work in scientific journals.
  3. Provide consulting and advising functions, being this way closed to the reality.
  4. Conduct administrative or managerial functions at university or departments.

Is it possible, as some claim, to teach without research? At the end, being a good communicator has nothing to do with research.

What about research? Being a superb specialist does not mean that you are a good teacher, one can end up losing the wider scope of knowledge needed to teach.

But we are not just teachers (being good educators) nor pure researchers (improving the world), we are professors, we should master both of them; it makes sense and is required by all university and educational bodies all over the world, setting even the exact time for research and teaching.

Both are complementary and interwoven.

  • Teaching based on researching support the learning process and brings quality to teaching:  Research enriches teaching.
  • Research is fundamental in developing new knowledge and bridging the gap between academia and reality: Teaching develops research.

And going back to practical reality, the experience of successful professors is that both teaching and research spur our academic careers: without research one cannot be much effective in teaching, and vice-versa.

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4 Responses to Teaching or research: what goes first?

  1. Tarkus Suganda says:

    it doesn’t matter what we are thinking about it, it absolutely depends on the policy of our university where we are working. Some university just merely ask us to teach only, some require us to do both, in various percentage of it. However, as long as your job is a lecturer or teacher, the first job is teaching, of course.

  2. 1. ‘Being a good communicator’ might have ‘nothing to do with research’ However, to be a good (read ‘successful’) researcher one must be a good communicator!
    2. ‘Teaching based on researching’ does not necessarily bring ‘quality to teaching’ – see 1.
    3. ‘Research is fundamental in developing new knowledge’. Yes, but it more importantly, research requires critical thinking and application of logic. This is what researching brings to teaching. Simply imparting new knowledge is insufficient.
    aka: Research is fundamental to good teachING (but not to being a good teachER)

  3. Luis De La Cruz says:

    Theory without application is not praxis. Identifying for students alternative solutions to the problems they claim to face or expect to face in their practice of life is the role of the 21st Century educator. Keeping current with proven and ongoing research questions and developments and sharing them with students within the frame of field experiences is a coaching role the theoretical lecturer posing as teacher is limited to play.

  4. Prof.Dr.Vani N.Laturkar says:

    Very true. University Professors have to play multiple roles-teacher, researcher, mentor, academic administrator, office administrator, consultant and above he is always expected to be an ideal role player in all these fields!

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