Tag Archives: university

We value only what we can measure

In all the literature I have read, I know of few statements more profound than the following quote from St Exupery’s Little Prince:

The wise fox

My secret is this. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye

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The needs of a weed

Here is a hypothetical story:

A student has discovered that, through higher education, she can access information and resources that enable her to indulge in one of her passions: teaching.

She is intrinsically motivated to study and work on that topic, even though that is only peripheral to her course of study (psychology).
She loves the intellectual and relational contact with academic staff and other students.

She accepts that she needs to work on the rest of the prescribed curriculum in order to continue pursuing her deep interests, but has decided to only put enough work in less interesting topics so that she can pass and eventually graduate.

She sees her formal qualification as just a stepping-stone towards the development of her research interests.

From the university’s point of view, she is a low performing student, she may even be considered at risk of failing, but what exactly is she failing?
Isn’t she getting what she wants and needs from her education?

She’s like a weed: growing where she’s not expected to, thriving on good soil, unwanted by the gardeners because her outputs are not considered valuable.

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Psychology and Sociology


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