Thursday, April 16, 2009

"radical prof refuses to give out grades"

this was recently published in the YU Free Press, it's also published at the university of toronto Strand:

""I don't grade. I don't give any requirements, including attendance, in my course," says York professor David Noble. "The reason is simple: all my students are adults."

He has just begun a joint lecture with fellow unorthodox prof Denis Rancourt, who has been suspended from the University of Ottawa and barred from the campus after a number of disputes with the university about his teaching methods, and it is already clear that the reason is a good deal more complex than that.

"Grades create an environment of terror, fear, [and] intimidation, and therefore subvert the possibility of education," continues Noble. He thinks other professors participate in the system so they can shift their anxiety about public speaking onto their students.

The social sciences professor believes that the pressure of having your performance judged makes real education "impossible," because the desire to learn must come from within.

"No one can teach anyone else. That's a myth. It's a scam. It's a con. People can only teach themselves," says Noble. But "these institutions are not about education," he explains. "That's just branding. . . .They're about the reproduction of subordination.""


""Grades foster the presumption of inequality. We're not equal - some get As and some get Cs," says Noble.

"I start with the presumption of equality: We're all of equal intelligence. Some of us excel at some things, other excel at others."

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