I was passed this quote by SEO Sensei, who was doing research for one of our projects. It absolutely floored me – I need to share it with you.
“At present the universities are as uncongenial to teaching as the Mojave Desert to a clutch of Druid priests. If you want to restore a Druid priesthood, you cannot do it by offering prizes for Druid-of-the Year. If you want Druids, you must grow forests.”
(Arrowsmith, 1967, pp. 58-59)
Arrowsmith, W. (1967). “The future of teaching.” In C. B. T. Lee (Ed.), Improving college teaching (pp. 57-71). Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
How appropriate! Has anything changed in the forty-two years since this was published? I can’t speak to higher education specifically, but my suspicion is that the Druid-of-the-Year analogy still applies. Why? Because it applies beyond education; in the workplace, in family – we reward people for appropriate behaviour, without considering first how to foster that behaviour.
Give it a few minutes’ thought. What are you asking of those under your care? Are you intending them to take a lesson from the tasks you assign? If so, here’s the clincher question; Do they even know you want them to learn?