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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AC Grayling on the university system

AC Grayling has a superb article at Comment is Free in defence of the traditional values of the university system (he is thinking of the humanities in particular, but surely some of this is more widely applicable to the sciences and other areas).

University is emphatically not about spoon-feeding and hand-holding through courses, but the very opposite. It is not about maximising contact hours, but about autonomy in thinking, researching and writing. We once used to ask, "What are you reading at university?" In those words lies the clue to what a university education is supposed to involve. People who get into university change educational gear and direction on doing so. They read and attend lectures, they write essays and discuss them with their tutors and peers. To do this in a knowledgeable and intelligent way, they have to do a lot of thinking, studying and discovering, the bulk of it for themselves, because no one else can do it for them.

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