The Big Questions

By Marc Williams

After reading about and discussing ideas pertaining to education for the past few weeks, UNCG’s BLS Program Manager Jay Parr sent me this article.  It is several years old and was inspired in part by Randy Pausch, who died in 2008 of pancreatic cancer.

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch

Even before receiving his fatal diagnosis, Professor Pausch had been slated to deliver a “last lecture” on his campus—that is, to pretend to be giving a final presentation, presumably one that would distill the wisdom of an entire life as a scholar and teacher. The lecture that Pausch in fact gave—when there was no need to pretend—made him a celebrity and focused attention on his pearls of wisdom.

The article focuses not on Pausch himself but rather the “big questions” he asked in his “Last Lecture” about life.  Author Rod Kessler, inspired by Pausch, asks his own students a series of “biq questions”: Why are we here?  What makes us happy?  What makes relationships work?  Kessler demonstrates concern for teachers and students who aren’t curious about big questions like these.

Is curiosity alive in the classroom?  Or are Kessler’s concerns justified?

You can view Pausch’s now-famous “Last Lecture” here:


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