February 14, 2020

I always sent Mam a Valentine card.

7.15 am:

Over breakfast, I caught up with my Twitter feed. A recent Times Higher Education survey suggests that many students consider the staff who teach them to be unhelpful, and that this causes their high rate of anxiety, depression, and dissatisfaction with life. Dr Matt Lodder’s take on the survey is both insightful and troubling:

I think this might be another symptom of students and academics having fundamentally different ideas of what we’re doing. There’s a sense that students want a recipe for success – a mark scheme, a formula.

Agreed. Moreover, I suspect that some students would prefer the tutors to present solutions to the academic problems that they’ve set for them. They want guaranteed success for their money. In this model of education, staff are directly responsible for the students’ failure. The corollary is that a student’s sense of personal achievement is entirely delusory. I was a tidy child only because my mother put away all my things, as it were.

8.00 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Back to my paper and its Powerpoint presentation. But first, my biographical note and the paper’s abstract required a polish.

I dealt with emails as they arrived, today. This wasn’t my usual practice. But the content of the correspondence demanded immediate attention. 12.30 pm: The overture of the advancing storm Dennis was now audible, and set to worsen. On completing her duties, and in order to notify me of her departure, the cleaner called ‘John!’ from the bottom of the stairs leading up to the third floor, where I was working. It was uncannily like the auditory illusion of my mother’s voice, which I sometimes ‘hear’ coming from that same spot when working late at my desk. And on this of all days.

Publicity for the, now entitled, ‘The Shining Pyramid’ event in March was making it’s way through social-media channels. I shall be keeping strange and unfamiliar company on this occasion:

After lunch, I pressed on with the text – inserting textual illustrations and exemplars in order to ground the abstract generality of the discussion thus far. It was proving to be a slow-yield sort of day. Which is better than a no-yield sort of day.

7.30 pm: I returned to the Powerpoint and then to the paper, again. A shape was now beginning to emerge. However, on this occasion the hardest aspect of composition would not be that of determining the structure but, rather, writing concisely. The bracket given by the symposia convenors for both presenting the paper and the sound work was very narrow.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Stephen Snoddy
    February 14, 2020 8:57 pm

    Agreed. Moreover, I suspect that some students would prefer the tutors to present solutions to the academic problems that they’ve set for them. They want guaranteed success for their money. In this model of education, staff are directly responsible for the students’ failure. The corollary is that a student’s sense of personal achievement is entirely delusory. I was a tidy child only because my mother put away all my things. – never a truer word said. Students have to work hard to discover – there is no other way!

    Reply

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