How can 'problem subjects' be made less of a problem?

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Published copy (DOI)


  • P Warwick
  • R Ottewill


Publication details

JournalTeaching in Higher Education
DatePublished - Jul 2004
Issue number3
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)337-347
Original languageEnglish


Many higher education courses, across the whole range of disciplines, include subjects that are somewhat problematic because they appear to be unrelated to other components of the curriculum. Students frequently perceive them as irrelevant and boring. This makes it extremely difficult for lecturers to stimulate interest and results in an unrewarding experience for all concerned. Instead of seeing these 'problem subjects' as a challenge for experienced lecturers, they often serve as a 'rite of passage' with responsibility for teaching them being given to new lecturers. Arguably, such a response simply compounds the problem and results in lost opportunities for developing creative and imaginative approaches to addressing the disaffection of students. If the challenge is to be met, particular attention needs to be given to ways of establishing and demonstrating the relevance of 'problem subjects', with this being seen more as a collective than an individual responsibility.

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