Publication details [#3437]

Cheney, George, Jill J. McMillan and Roy Schwartzman. 1997. Should we buy the "student-as-consumer" metaphor? Babel A.F.I.A.L.: Aspectos de filología inglesa y alemana 7 (3) : 8–11. 4 pp. URL
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The metaphor of student as consumer at first glance seemed to offer a lot of promise for transforming higher education because of how it focused our attention on the needs and desires of students, the accountability of colleges and universities, the control of costs involved, and a curriculum which develops practical skills in addition to intellectual ones. However, there are clearly disadvantages to this graft of a metaphor from a particular brand of marketing to the world of education. Specifically, the metaphor has a distancing effect on students, reducing their status to non-participants in the process of education; the metaphor confuses the momentary satisfaction of wants with long-term educational outcomes; it offers a form of pseudo-democracy in the place of authentic engagement; it treats educational outcomes in a reductionistic way; and it distorts the meaning of the very educational process it seeks to describe. (George Cheney, Jill McMillan, and Roy Schwartzman)