Laurie Taylor Column

February 17, 2006

Ah, Maureen, there you are. Still coping?

One does one's best, Professor Lapping.

Maureen, I'd like you to send a top-priority e-mail to all members of department drawing their attention to the recent survey by Oxford University's educational studies department.

"Recent survey". Yes, I've got that. What's next?

Go on to point out that this is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of staff views of new undergraduates.

"The most comprehensive ever undertaken."

And that it confirms all the things that we've been saying about our own intake for the past five years.

What sort of things?

Well, it confirms that they lack any sign of independent thought.

You mean they can't think for themselves? They more or less have to wait until they're told what to do by a higher authority?

That's right.

And they lack any ideas of their own?

Right again.

And they no longer have any ability to read critically? They accept any old nonsense that is thrown at them without questioning its meaning?

Absolutely.

And, what's more, they're now interested only in the next assessment? They can't cope with self-directed work unless it's going to gain them some extra points? They're able to handle only short-term thinking?

That's it exactly. You know, Maureen, you have an exceptionally perceptive grasp of this syndrome. It's almost as though you've made a close study of such behaviour.

One does one's best, Professor Lapping.

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 6 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
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Artist Frank Boelter sitting in life-size paper boat

Creator of crowdfunding teaching tool says entrepreneurship courses should drop the traditional business plan as a method of assessment

Elly Walton illustration (25 August 2016)

Treating students as consumers has precipitated a rush to the bottom to give them exactly what they want, says John Warren

Superhero costumes hanging on a washing line

Senior management do not recognise support staff’s pivotal role in achieving positive student outcomes, administrators say

Man photocopying a book

Students think it ‘unfair’ to be punished for unintentional plagiarism

Child drives miniature car into people

Smaller, newer alternative providers are less likely to pass higher education review, analysis says