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."

2 comments:

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wk4qG2mIg

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