A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Exams create paralysis

Marshall (April 1946, age 35). Exams create paralysis

Exams have a “paralyzing [effect on the] independence of mind.”  That wrangler Keynes learned this first hand at Cambridge. I’m learning it second hand at Toronto. I want to take “a practical critical” approach to literature but my students have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to salivate at the prospect of recall not independent thought.

Me (September 2009, age 57). You can start creating and stop being paralysed

If you manage people – are you teaching your people to make creative contributions to the enterprise, or are you teaching them to pass annual performance reviews, quarterly tests and other exams? 

If you work for someone else – are you learning how to make creative contributions?  Or are you learning how to pass annual performance reviews, quarterly tests , and other exams?  

Cordially, Marshall and Me

P.S. See you here tomorrow


The Letters of Marshall McLuhan. Selected and edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan, and William Toye. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987, p. 190

Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman. London: Macmillan, 2003, pp. 83-84.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Permalink 1930s and 40s, Business, Education, Management, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to Exams create paralysis

  • Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

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