Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thoughts on Higher Education (Part 1)

Since I have just finished a career stop in teaching at the undergraduate level, I may occasionally post some random thoughts of what I've learned about education.
Last night's commencement speaker, Dr. John Marshall, said something to students that I thought was profound enough to record. He defined education as an "external discipline" that you accept in order to bring about internal discipline. He said "You'll know you are educated when you are harder on yourself than your teachers ever thought about being on you."  I thought that was a pretty good description of being educated, it definitely works for me.

The previous fall semester started with a faculty seminar led by Dr. David Dockery of Union University. He said something I'll probably never forget: "If you haven't changed your mind about something in the last ten years then you have no business teaching."  I often wonder if I am personally too easily swayed by new ideas or the exact opposite-- too set in my ways and current beliefs. I love those who challenge me and change my mind about things. But I have contempt for those who believe differently than I do if I don't feel they've studied the subject matter enough, or as much as I have.

The two highlighted thoughts above are ones I will carry with me for a long time.

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