facts, monocots, and dicots

Bill Purves purves at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU
Fri Jul 16 10:19:08 EST 1999


This new monocot/dicot thread is interesting in its context of
what do we teach, and why...  And it's clearly to be solved by
individual instructors working in a way that's comfortable to
them.  Once "monocots and dicots" are mentioned, there's a
question of what to make of them, and how far to go, and what
particular sort of learning one is after.

This particular item is of interest to me, given that the
monocots appear to form a nice, clean clade, while the "dicots"
do not.  The phylogeny that's emerging is interesting.
But does one trouble a freshman botany student with it? an
intro bio (major or nonmajor) student with it?  I'm wrestling
with that right now for my next edition and have decided to
give it as a one-sentence footnote.  I think...  ;-)

To piggyback another point on this:  Somebody asked how/when
a student was supposed to know that she SHOULD learn about
transcription/translation or about other topics (this in the
context of my claim that no facts are essential in a given
course).  Clearly, departments do have curricula; by group
or individual decision, courses do get names; instructors
should and do give direction to the learning that's anticipated.
My preference and hope for any given course is that, within
the context of the name of the course (if you will), students
will be encouraged to learn what THEY want/need to learn
in order to accomplish some engaging tasks.

(bill)


William K. Purves      Vice President/Editorial Director
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              e-mail: purves at monagroup.com
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