EdMedia Commons Archive

Do ‘Hungry Hearts’ Make Better Students?

UVa English professor Mark Edmundson goes head to head with the Boss in the pages of the April 1 NYT.

“‘Everybody’s got a hungry heart,’ Bruce Springsteen sings. Really? Is that so?
I’m willing to testify; Not all students have hungry hearts. Some do, some don’t, and having a hungry heart (or not) is what makes all the difference for a young person seeking an education.”

It’s those students, he contends, who get the most of a college education, not those who look at it as an investment with a probable return. So what makes a hungry heart? Edmundson says, from what he’s observed, it’s a conspicuous dearth of parental pressure:

“I sometimes think that what the truly hungry students have in common is pretty simple: Their parents loved them a lot and didn’t saddle them with gross expectations, spoken or unspoken. These students aren’t adventurous because they’re insecure and uncertain. It’s very much the opposite. Students willing to risk their beliefs and values in school do so because they have confident beliefs and values to risk.”

What do you think of Edmunson’s assertion? Are some students just hungrier than others? And if so, how do you make every student a hungry one?

This post originally appeared on EWA’s now-defunct online community, EdMedia Commons. Old content from EMC will appear in the Ed Beat archives.