It was with great interest that I read these headlines “The cost of Codding” in the weekend newspaper here in Canada…an article by Emeritus Professor Geoff Smith about the price we are beginning to pay in Universities now that a generation of “over indulged” children are at the age of attending Universities. I was not surprised to read that in some Universities there is now the expectation that Professors need to provide advance warning about course material – is it likely to offend, traumatise, provoke anxiety or induce post traumatic stress disorder in the students who will be exposed to the material? On one level, of course we need to be ever mindful of the backgrounds of our student cohort – good educators do this as a matter of course…but extrapolate this approach to its extreme and you wonder how such students will learn about many of societies issues, ideas and experiences. We need to approach the topics with empathy and with concern but not at the expense of such limited exposure that our students have a vanilla bland and unrealistic education. Education is about challenges, education is about discourse, education is about feeling discomfort and learning to cope and extend oneself……if this does not occur then surely we are doing our students a great disservice.
Let us also remember our history……atrocities in the world have always happened! Controversial discussions have always occurred…..if you are not exposed to such…..how will you as an individual form your own opinion and subsequently govern your own actions?
Are our Australian Universities also being requested to revise course material to such an extent that this new era of “correctness” will result in limiting the academic freedoms of our Academics? Let us hope not!