|言語文化部教授 生出 恭治|
| ロンドン滞在中の一昨年の秋、知人に招かれてケンブリッジ大学を訪れた。帰宅して直ぐ、その折り手に入れた“Cambridge in Brief”という50ページ足らずの小冊子を読んでいて、思わず膝を打った。数年前にカリキュラム改編の仕事を手がけた時夢に終わったことの一つが、ケンブリッジ大学では、いくつかの困難を乗り越えて、既に現実のものになっていることを知ったからである。
ケンブリッジ大学の理系は特に充実しており、理学、医学、工学等の分野は世界的にその名を轟かせているが、その契機となったのは、1847年に（名誉）総長に就任したPrince Albert（Victoria女王の夫君）が着手した改革であり、没後10年を経た1870代になってその成果が現れたとのことである。前記の小冊子は、その結実を、「ケンブリッジ大学の理系で特に目立つ特徴の一つは、“the most distinguished professors”の多くが、各専門分野における最新の発展への導入として、一年次学生に特別講義をすることを厭わないことである。」と記している。しかも、注目に値するのは、その理由はともかくとして、これが、College basisではなく、University basisで実施されていることであり、1926年以降は文系でもこの方式が採用されているとのことである。巻末に付された1904年から1984年までのノーベル賞受賞者は、実に65人の多きを教えるが、この間に何らかの因果関係がありそうだと考えるのは、牽強付会であろうか。もとより、大学の成り立ちや組織編成が、本学とケンブリッジ大学とでは明らかに異なる点はあるが、そのことが、教育の理念とvisionを共有することを不可能にするとは考えられない。
A Student’s View of the Cambridge Currirulum
The Times of London’s annual survey of British universities, which makes use of government research and measures teaching standards, exam results, entry qualifications and other relevant matters has placed Cambridge University at the top of its league table for the past four years. Cambridge was also the only university in England that saw the number of applicants to its courses increase in 1995. There are many reasons for this success, including its long tradition of excellence and the historic architecture in a calm market town atmosphere, something which the local council has been at pains to maintain. How ever students in England choose their university for a variety of reasons and the content of the course is of central importance.
During my time at the university,the humanities curricula were based on two teaching styles, the lecture and the supervision.
Lectures were held at faculty level although in theory a student could attend any lecture giveｎ by any faculty at any time. The lecture had two responsibilities, to lecture on her subject and to provide a reading list of sources upon which the lecture was based.Attendance was not compulsory and of the three hundred or so students in my year attendance varied with the subject from twenty to three hundred. The primary criteria for deciding whether to attend was the relevance of both lecture and subject to what a student wanted to study. The optional International Law courses were always more faithfully attended than compulsory lectures in Roman Law. Right from the start, the university’s leading experts had responsibility for these programs. The contents of more complex lectures could often be reviewed later in the academic journals.
Supervisions were more personal. Lessons, at what is considered high school level in Japan, had been in class sizeｓ no greater than ten. At Cambridge, supervisions, which were held in the lecturers’ offices, usually consisted of 2-4 students. My Labour Law supervisor actually apologized to his students, because, due to the popularity of the course, some of us had to sit on the floor to take his class. There were not enough chairs for all six of us！
These classes were held as discussions, with questions to prepare, and a reading list to complete each week. Discussion was fairly wide-ranging although the supervisor tended to have certain matters which he wanted to ensure that the students had understood. Particular problems that students had found were also dealt with quite freely and could be come the main part of the lesson. Because of the sheer number of supervisions that had to be taught, there was a wider variety of university staff involved. Some students were supervised by their lecturer. At the other end of the range and especially in the natural sciences, research assistants might be called upon. Looking back through my supervisors, although not necessarily related to the field we studied together, by now almost all of them have written major textbooks in at least one field.
Each supervisor would give out perhaps two or three written assignments a year, yet there was never any clear sense that one was preparing for exams. On the contrary, a student’s understanding of his subject would be developed to the extent that she could deal with any question that might appear, not only in an exam but at anytime in the future.
Official classes in the humanities tended to be small in number. Five subjects per year, two lectures in each subject per week and one supervision per fortnight seem a very small number when compared to the Japanese system. However, the libraries always seemed to be too small. The size of supervisions made it almost impossible to successfully attend without preparation and while free discussion was encouraged, empty headedness was not.
Looking back, the thing that strikes me most is the level of independance granted to the student. Everyone knew that they would have to show how well they had understood their assignments to one of the country’s (and sometimes the world’s) leading experts. Yet there was very little attempt by the staff to ensure that work was done. It was just assumed that a student would be ready to answer whatever a supervisor threw out, especially when the exams came round.
The responsibility for learning was with the student not the teacher. In consequence students, forced to learn, put pressure on their supervisors to provide the necessary in sight to enable them to understand their subject. At the same time the supervisor would challenge the students individually to reveal they actually had understood. The freedom to challenge works both ways, ensuring that both students and staff are at their peak for the intellectual tussles of university life.
(Faculty of Language and Culture Jeremy Simmons)