Which areas are taught best?
Joanne asks a good question:
Everything else being equal, are there subjects that lend itself to
better teaching by professors? I've always chosen classes mostly on
professor teaching quality as measured by anonymous student surveys,
but was wondering if there are certain classes of subjects where one
could find better or worse teachers?
This may sound odd, coming from someone with a Ph.d, but I don't feel I have much experience being a student. A lot of the time I didn't pay attention.
A foreign language is especially hard to teach well. What can you do with verb conjugation? Microeconomics can be taught well. Literature. Classes that can be taught well make for easy narrative and vivid anecdote. The instructor can be enthusiastic without it seeming forced (not the case for introductory accounting). The students can be presented with relatively high-level material even in lower-level courses; poetry and literature illustrate that principle. Finally, the class must have actual substance, which rules out any number of offerings, best left unlisted. It's harder to teach macro well because it's less likely the instructor actually believes the material.
The best teachers I ever had were Hilary Putnam for Philosophy of Language and Charles Pine for calculus, plus H. Bruce Franklin for literature. Franklin was (still is?) a Stalinist and he edited The Essential Stalin. Barbara Jean Glotzer taught a very good Algebra II.