A short one today, as it’s induction week and we’re handling everything that comes with the arrival of several thousand students on-campus.
After only one day, it’s been really useful to be reminded about what seems obvious to you and what doesn’t seem obvious to students.
Just because no-one asked you about a thing before, doesn’t mean it’s obvious and the issue lies with them.
We’ve all got stuff that we’ve rolled over from year to year and no-one has queried. Until they do.
I got a query like that this morning, on something that has been unchanged for several years. Maybe it was just this one student, but maybe it was never very clear and no-one felt they could ask me about it.
Given that my working assumption is that there are always more questions and queries than those volunteered without prompting, I incline to the latter explanation.
Checking and re-checking our assumptions is hard, because often they are deeply implicit, or conditioned by external factors that we’re only marginally aware of.
That might be because of changing technologies, changing personal experiences of students, changing university regulations, changing activities by our colleagues, to list just the most obvious.
So when we meet our new students, we need to make sure that we’re not just treating them like our old students.
That means working through points as much as we can, being open to questions and queries and generally being alive to the potential danger of talking past each other.
And on that cheery note, it’s back to find out what else I’ve missed.