Autumn is a time for paradox and punishment..

As the nights draw in, and summertime evening frolics become less feasible, our students, no doubt, are turning to more cerebral means to pass the evening hours. One way might be to consider the paradox at http://peasoup.typepad.com/peasoup/2009/10/smilanskys-nonpunishment-paradox.html which I thought interesting.

PEAsoup is good blog, which often has things of note on it – but I thought this, albeit drawn from a book (by Saul Smilansky) – was worth pointing out. I won’t explain more – in the name of maintaining the suspense till you get to the actual site…

Best enjoyed in a leather armchair, with sherry and a cat while looking out at the quickening dark of the Cotswolds (or not).
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It is Never to Late to Learn


As I said to my students in RPE101, Philosophical and Ethical Arguing (and probably scaring them a little, though that was unintentional), you have to
own your own learning, by which I meant you have to transform yourself from a passive to an active learner.


Of course this phrase ‘active and passive learner’ is a fine example of gobbledygook (even though it is beloved of our university), but even jargon can hide a kernel of truth. I was reading on the train that morning of an emeritus professor who is still working at the age of 90 (you can read the article here if you want to).



What inspired me wasn’t his age (though it’s impressive), but how he talked about his experience as a student. He said,

“It’s really about whether you want to learn. There’s a fundamental difference between being taught and learning yourself, which is what you’ve got to do to reach a really high standard.”

“Learning for yourself”, well that is what research is, and should’t that be what we teach above all?