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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 15. August 4, 1971

[J.D. Zohrab]

How gracious were those staff members and student representatives in conceding that students require a longer period of time for their understanding of languages to mature, and how pathetically blind they were in maintaining that this was not the case for literature. One cannot but be complete idiot not to see that feeling for literature, and the ability to express it are dependent on an intangible maturing over a long period of time. What is then the lecturer's place in this? We have here the rare brilliant lecturer who can actually communicate feeling to the student, by awakening emotion in him which would otherwise if ever, have been awakened by the complex process of the mind working in conjunction with the environment. (This is called inspired teaching). Then there is the competent lecturer who provides bases and angles which more or less set the student on the light path for this process. There is finally the incompetent, who actually stifles this process by keeping his teaching on a superficial level. Now, as the competent is in the majority, how can the student's feelings develop in be course of one or two months study of any particular work? This is ludicrous. We are confusing the issue of mediocrity and nervous pressure being induced by short, high-pressure finals with that of aiming to achieve the greatest maturity in feeling and thought. These can be reconciled, Why not longer and more papers in finals, grouped at the end of the year, decreasing the pressure on students and at the same time enabling them to express themselves in depth and thus show the results of a year's maturing? This obviously begs the question: are all the staff capable of setting and marking papers of greater depth? But at any rate we have at present too much mediocrity to want a system that would increase mediocrity. Why not decrease it?

J.D. Zohrab