Friday, June 15, 2012

u.s colleges put low priority on student learning

aera-l | Norman Stahl of the LrnAsst-L list pointed to Julie Mack's report "U.S. colleges put low priority on student learning, say authors of 'We're Losing Our Minds' ". Mack writes that Richard Hersh, co-author with Richard Keeling of "We're Losing Our Minds" commented at a recent Educational Writers Association convention: "Higher education really needs to question its priorities, rewards, structures, principles and values. Learning itself must become a primary touchstone for decision-making."

Among other recent books critical of higher education are: (a) "Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids - and What We Can Do About It" (Hacker & Dreifus, 2010); (b) "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" (Arum & Roksa, 2011), and (c) "College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be" (Delbanco, 2012).

Richard Wolin, in his insightful review of Delbanco's book, has this to say about the current state of higher education: "America's most prominent philosopher of democracy, John Dewey, devoted a considerable portion of his oeuvre to reflecting on the methods and goals of public education. . . . . In his view, the pedagogical key to cultivating the virtues of active citizenship lay with the antiauthoritarian, dialogic approach of the Socratic method: Dewey believed that democratic education, instead of acquiescing to the mind-numbing requirements of rote instruction, should focus on honing critical thinking, thereby nurturing autonomy. . . . ...although contemporary educators might agree about the indispensable value of liberal learning, if directly challenged to define its content and purport, they become stricken with paralysis. . . . THE END RESULT HAS BEEN THE CONFUSED INTELLECTUAL SMORGASBORD THAT DEFINES UNDERGRADUATE STUDY TODAY. . .[My CAPS]. . . Regrettably, one of the major casualties of the restructuring of undergraduate education along vocational and pre-professional lines has been Dewey's ideal of liberal study as training for democratic citizenship."


Big Don said...

testing disqus...

umbrarchist said...

College is about producing dummies who memorise and hold degrees. But everyone is supposed to believe they are intelligent.