As students have been choosing classes over the last year, one question I’ve received is: how important is the teacher vs. the subject matter? In general, I argue, your own attitude is the most important factor in how well you learn. However, truly terrible teaching can make that more difficult and truly wonderful teaching can change your life for the better.
Today, I turned in my grades for my seminar on "Sprawl and the Law." It occurred to me that some readers of this blog might be academics, and might be interested on how one can teach a course on sprawl.
I began by defining the issue. As I pointed out in an earlier post (at http://www.planetizen.com/node/31063) the term "sprawl" has two common meanings: where we grow (city or suburb) and how we grow (pedestrian-friendly or automobile-dependent). Policies that affect the first type of "sprawl" need not affect the second (and vice versa).