Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quote of the day

"These are crucial questions for Harvard. But there are also other questions we need to ask ourselves: Do we value mostly students who resemble us in talent and personality and choice of interests? Do we remind ourselves to ask, before conversing with a student with artistic or creative interests, what sort of questions will reveal the next T.S. Eliot? (Do we ever ask, 'Who is the poet you have most enjoyed reading?' Eliot would have had an interesting answer to that.) Do we ask students who have done well in English which aspects of the English language or a foreign language they have enjoyed learning about, or what books they have read that most touched them? Do we ask students who have won prizes in art whether they ever go to museums? Do we ask in which medium they have felt themselves freest? Do we inquire whether students have artists (writers, composers, sculptors) in their families? Do we ask an introverted student what issues most occupy his mind, or suggest something (justice and injustice in her high school) for her to discuss? Will we believe a recommendation saying, 'This student is the most gifted writer I have ever taught,' when the student exhibits, on his transcript, Cs in chemistry and mathematics, and has absolutely no high-school record of group activity? Can we see ourselves admitting such a student (which may entail not admitting someone else, who may have been a valedictorian)?" -- "Writers and Artists at Harvard," Helen Vendler