Constructive Criticism: Wisdom from The Last Lecture

For their midterm assessment, our peer mentors in the first-year seminar were asked to provide a class presentation on the topic of their choice. The presentations were reviewed by our staff and also their peers in the leadership course. We completed half of the presentations last week and collected evaluations. Most were ambiguous praise such as “Great job!” and “Nice Powerpoint!”. As a preface to the presentations this week, my graduate assistant offered this gem of wisdom from Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture.

When you are doing something badly and no one’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones still telling you they love you and care.

It was evident from their demeanor and the significant increase in writing on the review forms that our peer leaders took these words to heart and began to show the love. Much of the feedback continued to be positive, but comments were more direct and offered suggestions for improvement.

Pausch asked the question of what wisdom would we impart if we knew it were our last chance. I continue to find wonderful lessons in his writings and explore their opportunity for my first-year seminar and other student programming. Pausch wrote his book to share a bit of himself with his children, but I think he would be pleased that his message has application in student development, particularly leadership, as discussed over at The Student Leader Blog.

What is your favorite lesson or idea from The Last Lecture?
How are you incorporating The Last Lecture into your curriculum?

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