You can force students to learn, to a certain extent, but students aren’t happy and employers aren’t happy.
In the year 1915 a series of trivial incidents led some Chinese students in Cornell University to take up the question of reforming the Chinese language.
The most frequent complaint I hear from college students is that professors inject their leftist political comments into their courses even when they have nothing to do with the subject.
I tell my workshop students, ‘I want you to think of yourselves as artists. Then, when you’re writing, you’re painting, you’re crafting, you’re making a design, you’re sculpting, you’re creating choreography, sound, a sound script.’
I always tell students that writing a poem and publishing it are two quite separate things, and you should write what you have to write, and if you’re afraid it’s going to upset someone, don’t publish it.
I would say that something important for me and for my generation in Northern Ireland was the 1947 Education Act, which allowed students who won scholarships to go on to secondary schools and thence to university.
We’ve been doing this here since 1968, so we have been identified as an example of a free, democratic school, and many professors want to expose their students to our philosophy.
I’ve been telling my students, ‘Imitate, imitate.’ And they say, ‘Well, what if I plagiarize, or what if I’m not original? I want to be myself.’ And I always tell them, ‘Your self will shine through’… If you allow yourself to feel deeply and honestly, what you say won’t be like anyone else.
I was excited when King’s College announced a scholarship for students who are in developing countries.
A lot of my students are Asian-American, and it has been thrilling to watch them break through the stereotypes into something alive and surprising.