 
Summary: The several functions that comprise teaching can be differentiated and shared in various ways with
students to enhance learning.
Teachers and Learning Groups: Dissolution of the Atlas
Complex
Donald L. Finkel
G. Stephen Monk
The Atlas Complex
Professor A is just concluding the culminating lecture on one of his favorite topics in his field.
In earlier lectures, he painstakingly laid the groundwork, explaining each element and placing each
detail of the theory in its proper relationship to the others. Today, he carefully ties the various
components together to exhibit one of the most beautiful and powerful theories that he knows of.
Each time that he lectures on this theory, he more clearly understands its depth and subtlety, and his
lectures improve accordingly. Students find the theory difficult, and so he has learned to inject
humor, personal views, and dramatic emphasis to get it across. Today, Professor A's pacing and
timing work perfectly. He ends just in time to allow for his usual five minutes of questions. He asks,
"Are there any questions?" A few students look up from their
notebooks, but nothing else happens. He fills the silence by raising some questions that naturally arise
from the theory. Then, he answers the questions. The students dutifully record the answers. One
student asks a polite question about a specific fact in the lecture, and Professor A uses the occasion to
expound still more on the theory. Another student asks the inevitable question about how much of the
