It's OK to think about feelings 1

November 11, 2005

I share Dennis Hayes's commitment to critique and robust intellectual debate ("The touchy-feely brigade: coming your way soon", November 4). How curious then that instead of a critical analysis of trends that might make such engagement more difficult, he offers us a caricatured version of the university.

His argument appears to be that any attempt to analyse the role of emotion in learning involves a collapse into pure subjectivity. Such simplistic dualisms do not stand up to scrutiny.

The notion that academics do not criticise one another for fear of hurting feelings is absurd. I have disagreed with Hayes on previous occasions and do not recollect recoiling from argument for fear of hurting his feelings.

The development of critical faculties in students is fundamental to university education. But we do ourselves and our students no favours by refusing to recognise the role of emotion on the mistaken grounds that to do so would entail wallowing in "relativism, subjectivity and feelings".

Sue Clegg
Chair of educational research
Sheffield Hallam University

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns