Once in a Lifetime

POY3“In China, where I spend some of my time, you say 谢 谢 (xièxiè)… which I like best of all because it says “thanks” twice (谢 谢). In fact, when you are in China, it is commonly said four times: 谢 谢 谢 谢.”

“For years, I have tried to understand my exceptionally strong discomfort with the student-as-consumer mindset that has hit higher education like it was the right idea. In my not so humble opinion: the consumerist mindset drives a wedge between students and their fundamental interactions with each other, with professors, and with the outcomes from an authentic education.”

“In China, there are actually terms that express the special closeness of people within a learning community that we lack in English – such as “shīxiōng” (师兄), which colloquially translates as “school brother,” and “shījiě” (师姐, “school sister”).”

“Greg, my student from Wisconsin in 1982, whom I mentioned earlier, is still my school brother. David Smith, Ralph Williams, Elaine Coleman, Jef Mallett… countless others… are siblings in my learning community. Students are not the customers; they are our younger ‘school siblings.’ I wish we had a good word for it in English, because we need a way to talk about it in order to preserve it.”