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Just Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

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It’s hard to know what you want if you’ve never seen or in some way experienced it. It’s like you settle for a tomato because you’ve never seen or tasted a freshly picked, naturally sun-ripened strawberry. But somehow the tomato doesn’t always seem to ‘hit the spot’…

The aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic is not the root cause of growing dissatisfaction within HEIs, but it has certainly served to exacerbate and expose things that haven’t been right for a very long time. Like an ill-fitting shoe that we persevered with through the acceptance of no other choice, but finally a blister forms and then bursts.

Sometimes it is easier to articulate what we don’t want. That can at least narrow down or simplify things. But rejection or complaining is not something to be confused with taking positive action. A protest march, a sit-in, a strike, is like bringing attention to a bad smelling drain rather than rolling up one’s sleeves to help fix what’s causing the stench.

And if you are a student, you pass through usually just once. It’s not like Groundhog Day where there’s the chance to see the same undesirable things repeatedly happen so that it becomes more and more clear what you have the power to change. So the default position is just to put up with things as best one can and get on with it – the overloaded curriculum, the tedious lectures, the relentless assessments, and so on.

Whether you are a provider or a consumer of education from an HEI, there is an ocean of easily accessible resources that are freely available and offer good advice, networking, sharing of good practices, and practical suggestions on the components that can be easily built in for effective and motivated learning. It’s no longer rocket science. A good starting point for what all educators and students really, really want is engagement in learning experiences that honour who they are, confirmation of their value, and empowerment to pursue their individual pathways in life. All it needs is a launch pad of determined will, and ways will then be found, including finding the time and space… did someone say ALLIGATORS? (see the Swamp blog)

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