Alternative definition of education

I am taking a final week of vacation before the new academic year starts.  During the fortnight of vacation we took in July, I read a novel by Elizabeth Taylor called ‘A View of the Harbour‘.  One sentence in particular struck a chord with me: ‘education [meant] the insinuation into children’s heads as painlessly as possible of a substance which might later turn out to have money-making properties’.  It describes how I sometimes feel, in my more cynical moments, about teaching in a university today.


4 thoughts on “Alternative definition of education

    1. Eann Patterson Post author

      I do not see the relevance of your questions. I work in the UK where the concept of tenure disappeared many years ago. The pass rate, or failure rate, of university students in a class tells you little, if anything, about the education they received in the class.

  1. David Asquith

    With the great and the good of Universities UK in our atrium this week, I’ve been mumbling along with this sentiment recently.

    1. Eann Patterson Post author

      Professors Chateau and Pnin make almost the same observation about ‘the typical American college student…thinks education is but a means to get eventually a remunerative job’. In Nabokov’s novel ‘Pnin’, Vintage Books, New York, 1989 (p.125). Pnoin was first published 1953 and so this seems to be an old and familiar complaint from professors.


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