Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's high time we stopped teaching college like elementary school!

Professor/Teacher A Wrote
"There is a lot of factual information that I really don't think my intro psych students need to know in order to demonstrate competence, so I don't bother with that stuff. I focus a lot of class time and assessments on broader goals, such as critical thinking, communication, diversity, and problemsolving. I want students to think critically about psychology, and therefore my exercises and assessments are developed to assess their critical thinking skills in light of psychological issues and topics. These broader goals that I've mentioned can be taught, practiced, and assessed in class. And the great thing about them is that those skills will transfer to other courses and to real life. Now if that's the kind of stuff that has more meaning to an instructor than trivial information from the textbook, then the instructor should develop exercises and assessments to measure it. Then the grade will have meaning."

Professor/Teacher B Replied
"To my ears this sounds like you are just pandering to the desires of students to not have to learn anything!!!"

My Comments
I have to agree here..This is just pandering. I'm so tired of this concept in altering education through student desires, rather than professional needs. What background do students have when and if they get into college/graduate school? How can one individual make the executive decision that the facts of any course is trivial?! Where did the knowledge within the entire world that we live in come from? I’m going to take an educated gander and say from those that read and learn extensively. That of course is just an opinion of an educator that reads extensively.People who were critical thinkers, understood diversity, and could problem solve? I'm sorry, but until I see the data that a better education is found by not reading, and just using thinking skills then I may be willing to alter the educational needs of people. The concept of education is to enhance the prior knowledge a person has when they are done with your course. My students seem to all say (and I'd love to see data on this) that they cannot memorize things? Is this simply because we have stopped asking them to do it? Students used to complain about it and so we just tossed it with no real evidence that this new system really works. Where did Darwin get his ideas from? Descartes? Wundt? Watson? Skinner? Just by being critical thinkers and good problem solvers? No, they read and learned this philosophy and scientific thought of their time and times prior by reading, studying, learning and reading some more….It's time to make people start memorizing again! And it's time to stop people from going to college that don't really care. It should not be the 13th through 16th grade of high school!Just wait... I'm confident that at this rate we'll either all be taking soma and saluting big brother when the uneducated product of today's system comes of age, or things WILL start falling apart. In other words, either people who do value education will take advantage of those who don't and help to create 1984 in its entirety…. or civilization will grind to a halt under the weight of complete incompetence!

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