I have shared a couple of rants already about the importance of trust in resolving our current climate challenges.
Without trust in our fellow people, co-operation and action for the greater good is basically doomed, unless it magically serves everybody’s individual interests. You would not act in favour of somebody else if you did not trust them. (Why would you? That would be kind of stupid, wouldn’t it?)
I already feel myself on the verge of going into another version of these arguments. That’s not what I’m here for today, thought.
I just want to share an observation I’ve pieced together. Most of my friends who are studying other programs, especially at the other university in Uppsala (won’t mention any names or point any fingers, right?), rightfully complain and criticise their lecturers for giving them so much coursework to do, and most of it being either silly or slightly meaningless. It seems like they have a ton of work to do and only for the purpose of having to have to do something. (Because why have free time, when at university level students are expected to take own responsibility of their learning and development? That would make no sense…)
True: you get as much out of it as you put into it. But if the lecturer keeps slamming more and more seemingly pointless work on their desks, how inspired will a young adult, in his/her prime years, be to put quality effort into all of it?
What I’m sensing in the background of all this is a growing mistrust for these lecturers.
And no wonder.
What do we call somebody who perpetually mounts more and more workload on our shoulders, not quite explaining why we have to do this, and none of which ever seems to be in our best interest?
That’s right, a boss!
Wow, I suddenly notice myself being maybe a bit too involved in their side of this whole thing. I’m actually truly lucky and blessed that our course doesn’t have that!
True, we have a lot more expected reading material than I’m used to, but it is clearly not more than usual for a social science program. Also, they are not mandatory in the sense that we get in trouble if we cannot make it. We simply miss out on the background of some seminar discussions. It’s our own loss. I cannot resent that.
We have had two compulsory hand-in assignments so far, each taking maybe two hours. Maybe I’m speaking for myself but I think we are happy to put effort into these few tasks. And if we were given a sudden surprise extra super-heavy assignment, we might lament the death of our weekend, but I think we would take it on with a feeling of genuine feeling that this will serve us.
In other words, we trust in our lecturers, and we trust that the assignments that are mandatory really are necessary or at least helpful to our own development.
We have had plenty of group work, and none of it has been assessed. This also breeds trust and good will in the class, even if one or two didn’t do the background reading, quite understand the questions or simply is having an off day. No-one will be resenting other members for not pulling their asses and putting their grades on the line.
This is genius.
I know it sounds like a third-grader would understand this. I agree, it probably is.
Funny, then, how rare this is in practice.
A wholehearted applause from me to the EC staff at SLU.