Journal for 2003 September 4
Continued thoughts on radicalizing Olin students. At yesterday's "What's Working Wednesday" (professors discuss how their classes and educational experiments are working or not), we discussed making teamwork work. One comment, which I think very true, was that grades matter a lot to students, and for work to be put into teamwork, one has to make it "count". Grades are a scary infection, that when you put them at the core of any institution spread to all its extensions.

I feel a need to inculcate my students, if I can, against grades, and maybe stir up relations between students and faculty to a healthier level. But then, there are so many options in the realm of eduction reform that I have another goal that should apply here and far beyond this:

Rather than prescribe a way that people should be, in general I would like to radicalize them into being the way they want to be. As Socrates said, we are all giving birth to our own ideas. I want to be a midwife and help people produce what naturally comes from them. Many people see the bit of head poking out, cut it off, and say, "Look, my baby!" Better to keep with the pain, and know that if the product is truly a product of oneself, but draws its living breath and nutrients from the environment we share, everything will be okay.

Along with the first set of homework cam a note from a student saying, "Here's my homework. By the way, you need to tell us X, Y, Z, and clear it up soon." I don't know if MIT students would ever say such a thing. Certainly not so soon in the year.

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