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September 21, 2004



The goad of grades always works with "students". You can make any student jump through any hoop using grades as the carrot and the stick, but that doesn't teach that student anything other than jumping through that particular hoop, perhaps not even that (all they need to do is make you believe they jumped through it).

On the other hand, if you don't goad students, there's a high probability they will sit back, relax, and give you blank stare after blank stare. But there is always the slight possibility that a few might decide to learn instead. When you're being graded on something, you can't learn. The act of proving your "learning" to another person destroys any individual ideas you had about it.

It's a risk, as everything is. In my opinion, it's a risk worth taking. You can always revert to grading things later on. If you are a true teacher, your purpose is to educate: To lead out what's within. You can't force that with any goad.

k v k murthy

My dear Gott, shall revert at length (not, one hopes, in the manner implied in Hammerstein's remark re John Cage's "4 minutes 33 seconds"). This is merely a sighting shot, as it were.

Ladakh was stupendous. More of that anon.

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