(From Faculty Focus). The Benefits of Using Students as Guest Speakers. Last year I received a grant to support bringing guest scholars to my class. The idea was to find students with some expertise relevant to my courses and invite them to present in class, thereby giving the class a perspective on the material that I couldn’t provide. The grant enabled me to pay the guest scholars a stipend for their work. I had both the guest scholars and students complete questionnaires after these visits to class.
Here’s the rationale behind the idea. The task of the teaching professor is to educate, but what does that mean? The traditional notion is that education is something done to the students by the professor. The contrary radical notion is that education is something done by students for themselves—the old comparison between the student as container and the student as plant. A middle ground, which seems closer to reality than either of these theoretical positions, is that education is something done both by the professor with the students and by the students with the professor.