Tony Gurr

Has the world of the “GRADUATE” actually changed? – Laurence Raw

In Guest BLOGGERS, Our Universities on 26/03/2011 at 6:59 am

Good morning to everyone – from a wonderful, sunny London (I kid you not).

Today, we have another guest posting from Laurence. Enjoy.


Have you thought about graduate school?

No. Would you mind telling me then what were those four years of college for? What was the point of all that hard work?

You got me.

(Mike Nichols, The Graduate, 1967)

This exchange between Dustin Hoffman’s character and his father from a film released over four decades ago sum up the experiences of many learners going through university – even today.
With these observations in mind, I talked to some graduate students, both past and present, whom I have either taught or encounter through years of travel, and asked them one question: what did you learn from your education?

I present their responses without comment and invite all educators to reflect on how their institutions might take steps to change some responses:
“I learned that there was a great difference between what we were supposed to learn and what we actually learned” (language teacher, 35)

“Insight into cultural differences is always a plus for world understanding, and understanding of any sort.” (graduate student, 60)

“I learned how to communicate, but much of this was done outside the class with no help from the educator” (language teacher, 37)

“I learned how to question everything I encountered, in reading, writing and speaking” (home worker, 39)
“I felt I had been cheated” (unemployed female, 26)

“I let my parents down” (unemployed male, 24)

“I started to think only when I realized that the courses weren’t that important, but the experience of education was” (female head of department, 38)

“I got the chance to meet different people from different backgrounds, but this was probably due more to myself than to my teachers” (language school owner, 37)

“I wish I had been able to work more with my classmates” (language teacher, 40)

“There were one or two people who understood us, but no one else wanted to” (lawyer, 42)

“when will teachers learn that education is for life?” (graduate student and teacher, 25)

“I felt I was being imposed on” (PhD student, 28)

“I was inspired to learn by some of my works with others” (university teacher, 39)

Sometimes I think we ought to listen to others’ voices, rather than judging ourselves?
Nuff said?


Laurence Raw – Baskent University, Department of English, Ankara, Turkey.

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