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Sarah Horrigan

Oh my good grief... I know a 'reality instructor' currently working in HE. He drives me insane... but is spectacularly ineffective all at the same time.

At last - a term which fits! :o))


Oh yes, there are many of them around. They usually have a rather smug smile which says 'humph, that'sa nice idea, but you have no idea of the _real_ world do you?'

Sarah Bartlett

Loved this raging polemic. Even people like me who work for commercial organisations can appreciate the underlying spirit of this fantastic rant. Commercial players need to understand the very real and valid drivers in education rather than overlaying education with their own preoccupations, which, as you suggest, are frequently ill-founded or maybe obvious.


Thank you for pointing out the Downes' post - it was very stimulating and afterwards I felt grateful for having done a Literature and Philosophy degree (I have occasional but regular crises of doubt, thinking I should have done something more 'useful').

I've got a copy of Herzog but haven't read it. I imagine Cantabile from Humboldt's Gift would qualify as a 'reality instructor' though.

Cheers again,


@Guy - sure, lit and phil isn't the path to riches but you're rich in your soul :) Cantabile is probably the best reality instructor Bellow has created, I think he'd really refined it with him. There are a few of them in Augie March.

Harriet Wakelam

Interesting question - and perhaps we should all be asking how can we better learn from each other, work together and stop trying to 'win' the argument over who does it best!


i love that sarah bartlett comes in and starts instructing us about reality (or maybe obvious) and noone says a word! nice job dipshits!


Yes, yes, and yes. On all accounts. Books of a relevant nature include Bellow's own colleague Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind" and perhaps even go as far as Goethe. Maybe this Downes mentions them in his bit. Noam Chomsky, too, has narrowed down what exactly is carrying out this "progression" of change in values. I don't think I'm being too general when I say all this.

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