To the Ministry's main lobby The Ministry Blog
concert setlists

3 April, 2006

Don't ask, think.

Without wishing to imply Siobhan's postings aren't all wonderful ;)  one from last Thursday (which, for various reasons, I've only just read), particularly caught my attention.  It's a follow-up to one from Wednesday, so read that too.

To cherry-pick two related points:

'Fairly-Odd' had said: "However, you are their teacher, and they're paying to have you show them things, right?" S. didn't rise to the bait, but I will. Students aren't 'paying customers', and don't have the right to demand 'customer service' from lecturers. Academic staff are not here to serve, nor to spoon-feed.

S. teaches an art-based subject that happens to involve computers i.e. the creative application of technology. Her role isn't to teach people how to use computers, or specific packages, but to teach people how to apply those technical skills in a meaningful manner e.g. not how to use Dreamweaver but how to produce quality web design.
Hence, to be regularly asked about mundane technical details is frustrating, especially those a student could solve for him/herself with a bit of experimentation and by reading the manual/integral 'help' facility. That reduces the lecturer to the most basic help desk technician, answering questions the 'user' simply can't be bothered to research for him/herself.

This gets to the very purpose of higher education, and the relationship between a lecturer and a student. The former shouldn't be telling the latter 'the answer', but, more fundamentally, guiding the latter to find 'the answer' for him/herself; teaching the student (how) to think.


Moving away from the specifics of Siobhan's post, you certainly make an interesting case. I don't see it as cut and dried though that it isn't a customer-like situation. In this age of a) tangible fees, and b) university's kissing business' behind and thus becoming seen as more of a corporation themselves, I think students owe it to themselves to critically assess the service provided.

I believe in university's as a place of learning, although it seems that day has passed...

I also agree that the answer itself shouldn't be provided, but the skills to find it oneself. The latter though can be done well and badly, and the student/customer shouldn't feel they can't question the merits of a department/academic.

Posted by Jan B at April 3, 2006 07:47 PM

does anyone at the Ministry of Information know of a film made by them in 1944 about Springtime in a Country Village,it was about a black may queen called Stephanie Antia and was a propaganda film shown in the Black countries so the people would not be afraid of the British Stephanie has just visited the village after 50 yrs , reminiscing about our wartime pursuits , it would be wonderful to get a copy of that film inhopeful anticipation Joy Smith

Posted by Joy Smith at April 9, 2006 04:31 PM

Please see this earlier entry.

C'mon, does this page really look like an official department of the British Government?

Posted by NRT at April 9, 2006 11:11 PM
Site Home Tull Tour History Annotated Passion Play
Day in the life... Page design and original graphics © NRT, 2003