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The Business of Learning

There has been this idea floating around during my lifetime, and very likely before, that government should be run like a business. This idea has, I hope, reached peak popularity with the election of our current president. Like many of the things associated with the person elected to live in the White House, I do not believe that this idea is particularly ethical, as the government should be in the “business” of taking care of people and there are times when caring for others is not lucrative in a financial sense.

Within my professional life, I often work with people that view higher education as a traditional economic exchange where money is exchanged for goods and services – in this case, knowledge. However, this is not a completely correct way of thinking and this can cause tension. As an educator, despite being outside a classroom, my ethical responsibility is to put responsibility where it belongs. Sometimes that responsibility, however unsavory, lies with the student and facing consequences can be bad for business but good for the person. It is those moments where difficult learning happens that makes our institutions of higher education successful and our society successful.

I am curious, what are some situations you’ve been in where learning or teaching something has been painful at the time but ultimately made you and those around you a better person?

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