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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the Register

Attendance registers are a big issue in classroom management in contemporary higher education.
Here's Raymond Williams on how things used to be:
'I used to say, as an adult tutor, that I was in the only kind of education where the students voted with their feet; if the class wasn't right, they didn't come. I had forgotten the Cambridge lecture system, in which attendance is optional and where, in English for example, only half the students ever attend at all. But this seems to me increasingly a negative freedom: the right to stay away (in fact often ignorantly or fashionably exercised) is no real substitute for cooperative decision.'*
This has to be better than the current arrangements, in which formalities come first.

*'The Teaching Relationship: Both Sides of the Wall', in David Rubinstein & Colin Stoneman (eds.), Education for Democracy, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970. pp. 214-221.