The End of a 'Period': Sustainability and the Questioning Attitude
Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 477-487, 2010
12 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2010
Date Written: September 1, 2010
Children enter school as question marks and leave as periods. From Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner (1969) in Teaching as a Subversive Activity. The aphorism above suggests that students exit secondary school thinking they “know” what needs to be known…period. Higher education may simply serve to replace the period (.) with an exclamation (!). Upon exit from college, students “know what is to be known” even better, are more confident in stating it and think they are prepared for job placement. Can universities help students recapture the thrill of being question marks (?), suggesting a joyful pursuit of continual self-discovery? In addressing this question, we submit that only with enduring questioning, life-long pursuit of new insights and continual adaptive change, are college graduates able to contribute to and partake in the paradigm shift of sustainability. Our essay seeks to connect the mindset of questioning and adaptive change to the current sustainability transformation within universities. In doing so, we set forth a foundation for understanding how universities, particularly schools and colleges of business, can empower students to leave our halls as “?”s and effectively participate in the sustainability transformation.
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