On difficult students

by reestheskin on 25/04/2016

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After a spell as a lecturer and reader at the LSE, he returned to his East End roots at the economics department at Queen Mary College, recruiting an impressive roster of academics and students to its venue in a former biscuit factory on Bow Road.

He was known for giving chances to mavericks: if a headteacher warned of a student’s “difficult” nature, Peston would normally take them on.

From an obit of Lord Peston FT

This brought to mind something in Craig Venters excellent autobiography, A life decoded. He described how he was so busy doing science — and publishing — as a student, that he failed some mandatory graduate exams. The faculty had to ‘invent’ an appropriate exam for him — which of course he passed. They obviously didn’t have to deal with the QAA or GMC.

Education is not just about means, but about maintaining intellectual diversity. We have to be concerned about variation, too. It is all too easy to concentrate on minimum standards or pass marks, without considering whether what we are doing, harms those who as a society we are most in need of.