This one will be brief – real brief. I’ve had a few interesting discussions in the past few days and each one included a great quote. One was Henry Ford’s: “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” The other was Albert Einstein’s: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
How does this relate to education, teaching and learning? Ford’s is fantastic – I don’t want to dismiss student input into curricular and methodological issues, but educators need to be VERY careful designing education to suit students. Just the other day I got my student evaluations from the fall semester – no surprises. I knew one course had been a struggle, both for me and the students. I think it was due to trying to do too much – not content, but rather trying to implement a new teaching philosophy too rapidly. Half way through the course I knew it was not working and the student evals agreed with my assessment. Was it a failure? No. I am still committed to the idea, I just need to implement it differently. A perfect example of not flogging the same old horse (note: no horses were physically abused in this post:)
What about Einstein’s quote? Passively accepting injustice or violence is clearly not appropriate, but either is passively accepting violence to one’s soul (reference to Parker Palmer’s deep thoughts). Palmer claims that each of us needs to find careers that align with our soul – to do otherwise does violence to our soul (his phrase, not mine). First, we have a responsibility to actively search and pursue our heart’s desire for a career – do not settle for less. Second, we have a responsibility to help our students do the same. I am happy to help a student choose not to pursue an accounting career if they are not committed to it. In the long run, their happiness is at stake.
Kudos to both Ford and Einstein, thanks for the inspirations!