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A complete and total novice lecturer might pick up a few tips here, but apart from a discussion of effective integration of lectures and labs that might be useful in the right disciplines, there is nothing in The Art of Lecturing that has not been covered much more fluently and succinctly elsewhere in Phil Race's books, for example. The real appeal of the book is, I'm afraid, the unintentionally comic effect of Aarabi's continual arrogant self-deprecation and the hilarious use of photographs.
The book's dedication acknowledges both those who supported him and those who inspired him to "ever greater energy, motivation, and focus" by kicking him when he was down, and he constantly tells us: "I seek failure.
I want failure. Aarabi is, Dickens might have said, a bully of humility. Any author who has argued with a publisher about the inclusion of even a handful of photos will first be enraged by the huge number in this book - nine in the Introduction alone - and then amused by their aggressive banality. We are treated to Aarabi as a child in Iran several times , Aarabi at Stanford, Aarabi before the Canadian Federal Government, and then about a score of seemingly identical photos of a lecture theatre at the University of Toronto from different angles.
Sadly there is none of Aarabi with his hero John McCain, although I guess now the ex-presidential candidate may have a little more time on his hands. So The Art of Lecturing is memorable for all the wrong reasons, such as its tips for handling dozing students: questions should be addressed to those slumped unconscious "with the utmost gentleness and care", and the novice should remember that "the worst mistake Well, quite. By Parham Aarabi. Cambridge University Press.
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