Attitudes towards education
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18-10-2012, 06:46 PM
RE: Attitudes towards education
Diablo Wrote:Wait...you are claiming the republicans are the more educated demographic?

No.

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18-10-2012, 11:13 PM
RE: Attitudes towards education
(17-10-2012 11:59 PM)Diablo Wrote:  Except you aren't explaining the necessity for the physics major, or w/e, to take the art classes. This concept of the well rounded student is completely flawed, and based on nothing but tradition. Whats more you people have the audacity to force this tradition onto the children, and tell them its a liberal idea.

The fact of the matter is that the schools want you to waste 4 years to get a 2 year degree, so they make more money. Its all part of business! Just another instance of capitalism corrupting everything it touches.

Maybe if education was cheap, like in most civilized countries, then you MIGHT have a leg to stand on, but its not so you dont.

I disagree that being 'well rounded' in academic studies is worthless.

-A scientist that is well read and can write effectively will be a much more effective communicator.
-A scientist that understands economics can better understand how to apply their skills in a way that will be successful in the economy, perhaps even start a business.
-A scientist that understands human psychology in addition to their primary field of study will be more successful in marshaling allies to support funding their research.
-A scientist that understands culture can bridge the gap of understanding between their primary field of study and the layperson.
-Reading knowledge in other languages is immensely helpful for a researcher. Language skills are also very useful for collaborating with experts around the world.
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19-10-2012, 10:34 AM
RE: Attitudes towards education
(18-10-2012 11:13 PM)BryanS Wrote:  I disagree that being 'well rounded' in academic studies is worthless.

-A scientist that is well read and can write effectively will be a much more effective communicator.
-A scientist that understands economics can better understand how to apply their skills in a way that will be successful in the economy, perhaps even start a business.
-A scientist that understands human psychology in addition to their primary field of study will be more successful in marshaling allies to support funding their research.
-A scientist that understands culture can bridge the gap of understanding between their primary field of study and the layperson.
-Reading knowledge in other languages is immensely helpful for a researcher. Language skills are also very useful for collaborating with experts around the world.

I agree with that, to an extent, but I also have to agree, to an extent, with Diablo.

All of what you mentioned is supposed, and ought, to be taught in high school, and the fact is that our schools are completely dropping the ball, resulting in massive amounts of money being spent for undergraduate education, at university, that should have already been achieved at the secondary level. High school education might not be intentionally flawed toward that end--though there is some structuring toward that end--but it's still happening; also, universities force students to take those types of classes, separately, as part of requirements, and in some cases that could be even if the student has the background they ought to have. I could add that some of what you mentioned, e.g. reading, writing, communication, arguably economics through calculus/math, is actually supposed to be integrated into the core curriculum, but I'm sure that was aside from what you were getting at.

So, I agree with being "well rounded", but you should be "well rounded" prior to entering college.

Personally, I feel, if after high school, you aren't already reasonably knowledgeable in (native) language arts, foreign language, logic, communication, technology, history, psychology, sociology, business, economics, government, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, art, health, and can't think critically and properly express ideas, both written and verbally, following formal guidelines of logic and rhetoric, then what was the point?

What I've noticed, in the majority, because there are preparatory schools doing things correctly, is that our school systems are designed to not get children properly educated for university, while universities are welcoming it by not setting admission standards high yet making prerequisites and requirement standards, and as a result kids being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn what should have already been standard to learn in secondary school as an undergraduate, and that is in addition to what is actually require to become well educated in their major field of study. It's also in addition to what should make you even more "well rounded" at that point. You not only have to take history classes or economics classes, you have to take 100 level classes, which are classes of broad knowledge that you should already possess at that point. These aren't classes that are actually designed to give you deeper, in depth and complex understandings of specifics in regards to that area, which could become interdisciplinary or broaden the scope of your major study, these are just general knowledge courses.

My point is that, we have a system that is set up, intentionally or not, to take advantage of kids and at the same time, charge large amounts of money that really only has, in effect, resulted in massive amounts of debt for mediocre education.

Like Diablo said, if university was free, there could be a leg to stand on in support of our current educational system (though there wouldn't be because we'd still need restructuring an reform), but it's tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, while at the same time, a necessary prerequisite for success in our society.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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19-10-2012, 11:59 PM
RE: Attitudes towards education
(19-10-2012 10:34 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  I agree with that, to an extent, but I also have to agree, to an extent, with Diablo.

All of what you mentioned is supposed, and ought, to be taught in high school, and the fact is that our schools are completely dropping the ball, resulting in massive amounts of money being spent for undergraduate education, at university, that should have already been achieved at the secondary level. High school education might not be intentionally flawed toward that end--though there is some structuring toward that end--but it's still happening; also, universities force students to take those types of classes, separately, as part of requirements, and in some cases that could be even if the student has the background they ought to have. I could add that some of what you mentioned, e.g. reading, writing, communication, arguably economics through calculus/math, is actually supposed to be integrated into the core curriculum, but I'm sure that was aside from what you were getting at.

So, I agree with being "well rounded", but you should be "well rounded" prior to entering college.

Personally, I feel, if after high school, you aren't already reasonably knowledgeable in (native) language arts, foreign language, logic, communication, technology, history, psychology, sociology, business, economics, government, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, art, health, and can't think critically and properly express ideas, both written and verbally, following formal guidelines of logic and rhetoric, then what was the point?

What I've noticed, in the majority, because there are preparatory schools doing things correctly, is that our school systems are designed to not get children properly educated for university, while universities are welcoming it by not setting admission standards high yet making prerequisites and requirement standards, and as a result kids being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn what should have already been standard to learn in secondary school as an undergraduate, and that is in addition to what is actually require to become well educated in their major field of study. It's also in addition to what should make you even more "well rounded" at that point. You not only have to take history classes or economics classes, you have to take 100 level classes, which are classes of broad knowledge that you should already possess at that point. These aren't classes that are actually designed to give you deeper, in depth and complex understandings of specifics in regards to that area, which could become interdisciplinary or broaden the scope of your major study, these are just general knowledge courses.

My point is that, we have a system that is set up, intentionally or not, to take advantage of kids and at the same time, charge large amounts of money that really only has, in effect, resulted in massive amounts of debt for mediocre education.

Like Diablo said, if university was free, there could be a leg to stand on in support of our current educational system (though there wouldn't be because we'd still need restructuring an reform), but it's tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, while at the same time, a necessary prerequisite for success in our society.

I can understand the point that many high schools do a poor job of preparing students. Colleges would much rather not teach remedial courses, but they find they have to because many schools do not do a proper job preparing students for college. Those high schools that do it right offer advance placement classes so you can avoid the intro courses and come into college with credits towards your degree. I ended up taking almost no 100 level classes in college by making good use of advance placement classes and testing out of all my basic entry level requirements.

The problem as I see it is that too many people are going to college who don't need to and who shouldn't be. Careers in the trades and in technology pay well and do not require four year degrees, but there seems to be a perpetual shortage of good people for these jobs. We've made college the end-all be-all for advancement in the middle class when many who go to college would be better off financially if they went to work instead of racking up loans.

As I learned in my high school conservation class, TANSTAAFL Smile There just is no such thing as 'free' education. Higher education may be free in price in some countries, but it is not free cost. If the price were free, that would be no reason to change any standard of evaluating what education is worthwhile. If the economic benefit of the education is not greater than what you pay for it for yourself, it isn't necessarily worth it for someone else to pay that for you.

I say let economics work--stop subsidizing college like we do and cap the size of federal loans. Schools will then be forced to constrain costs in order to keep their pool of applicants up. Some potential students may look at other career options that do not require a four year degree. If 1/3 of the population attends schools, these schools will act fast to not see millions leave the market because it is too expensive.

Furthermore, current laws which do not allow student loans to be discharged through bankruptcy need to be repealed. And here's the kicker--let's make colleges bear at least some of the cost of those defaulted loans. I'd say 50/50 between the college and the lender would be fair. Then maybe colleges would start caring whether it is financially wise to grant degrees in fields with no career prospects. Maybe then colleges would start caring more about whether their education is affordable.
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20-10-2012, 02:00 AM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2012 02:41 AM by Diablo.)
RE: Attitudes towards education
(18-10-2012 11:13 PM)BryanS Wrote:  
(17-10-2012 11:59 PM)Diablo Wrote:  Except you aren't explaining the necessity for the physics major, or w/e, to take the art classes. This concept of the well rounded student is completely flawed, and based on nothing but tradition. Whats more you people have the audacity to force this tradition onto the children, and tell them its a liberal idea.

The fact of the matter is that the schools want you to waste 4 years to get a 2 year degree, so they make more money. Its all part of business! Just another instance of capitalism corrupting everything it touches.

Maybe if education was cheap, like in most civilized countries, then you MIGHT have a leg to stand on, but its not so you dont.

I disagree that being 'well rounded' in academic studies is worthless.

-A scientist that is well read and can write effectively will be a much more effective communicator.
-A scientist that understands economics can better understand how to apply their skills in a way that will be successful in the economy, perhaps even start a business.
-A scientist that understands human psychology in addition to their primary field of study will be more successful in marshaling allies to support funding their research.
-A scientist that understands culture can bridge the gap of understanding between their primary field of study and the layperson.
-Reading knowledge in other languages is immensely helpful for a researcher. Language skills are also very useful for collaborating with experts around the world.

Scientist are still shit at communication. That is pretty evident today, so obviously this well rounded approach isn't working.

An extremely basic intro Human psychology is not going to help you bum for money. That doesn't even kind of make sense.

This is just a rehash of #1, and as I said before, they suck in this area.

I never suggested that foreign languages were worthless. In fact, I suggested to use them as a replacement of rehashed English classes.

All you said was reading, writing, and communication skills were important. That is true for almost anyone. Even if we assume that this is the end goal of the "well rounded" student model, it sure as hell aint the overall outcome.

All those things you talked about could easily be rolled into science classes, and in many regards they already are. In other words, you have proven jack and shit, and jack just ran off with your bucket of shit.

BryanS:
I think you are thinking of the 50s or something.... Very few people who work such jobs can be considered middle class anymore.

(18-10-2012 08:32 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Diablo
Obviously you feel very strongly about this issue, but you are making an assumption about how I see the education system itself. I have no interest in doing because it is tradition and I am not convinced it has conveys any "liberal" message to the students. I don't want the business major devoid of science anymore than I want the physics major to forget about the humanities. That doesn't mean the physics major has to like it, but that individual can still take something away from those classes, they just have to be intelligent enough to see how to do so.

Again, you did not produce anything that could even slightly be interpreted as an argument for the current system. If this is just your biased opinion devoid of evidence, then so be it, but at least say so.

Just how inconsequential does a class have to become before we can agree that its utter bull shit, and a waste of a students time? Why do we have to force everyone to learn something that is inconsequential, because an infinitesimally small minority makes use of it?

Quote:I don't know about the US, but universities generally tend to offer a pool of general education requirements, so if history isn't your thing, you can take philosophy, or sociology, or something else in the humanities that strikes your fancy. Because being educated isn't just about knowing a whole lot about your chosen field. It's about culture and history and general knowledge. It's about knowing about the world around you, how it got to be where it is. It is about making more informed decisions. Studying health and sociology and history, even at low levels, in college, really helped me define my political and economic opinions today.
Yes, you have your choice of which classes you want to take. But its sort of like how a country ruled by a dictatorship gets to vote on which dictator they prefer. Its merely illusion of choice. The fact of the matter is you are being forced to pay for someone to teach you stuff you either already know, or don't care about.

I think its easy to see why this is happening, and it has nothing to do with High school kids who are not adequately prepared for college. I went to a very low ranked High School, and I expected to be quite a bit behind when I got to the university, but that was not the case. I was even told that I would be further behind then the other students, yet I actually became a tutor.

No the reason is much more simple than that. Our old friend capitalism, who corrupts everything it touches, strikes yet again. Countless students are forced to pay for shit you don't need to know, already know, or don't want to know.
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20-10-2012, 02:49 AM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2012 09:59 AM by Diablo.)
RE: Attitudes towards education
(19-10-2012 10:34 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  
(18-10-2012 11:13 PM)BryanS Wrote:  I disagree that being 'well rounded' in academic studies is worthless.

-A scientist that is well read and can write effectively will be a much more effective communicator.
-A scientist that understands economics can better understand how to apply their skills in a way that will be successful in the economy, perhaps even start a business.
-A scientist that understands human psychology in addition to their primary field of study will be more successful in marshaling allies to support funding their research.
-A scientist that understands culture can bridge the gap of understanding between their primary field of study and the layperson.
-Reading knowledge in other languages is immensely helpful for a researcher. Language skills are also very useful for collaborating with experts around the world.

I agree with that, to an extent, but I also have to agree, to an extent, with Diablo.

All of what you mentioned is supposed, and ought, to be taught in high school, and the fact is that our schools are completely dropping the ball, resulting in massive amounts of money being spent for undergraduate education, at university, that should have already been achieved at the secondary level. High school education might not be intentionally flawed toward that end--though there is some structuring toward that end--but it's still happening; also, universities force students to take those types of classes, separately, as part of requirements, and in some cases that could be even if the student has the background they ought to have. I could add that some of what you mentioned, e.g. reading, writing, communication, arguably economics through calculus/math, is actually supposed to be integrated into the core curriculum, but I'm sure that was aside from what you were getting at.

So, I agree with being "well rounded", but you should be "well rounded" prior to entering college.

Personally, I feel, if after high school, you aren't already reasonably knowledgeable in (native) language arts, foreign language, logic, communication, technology, history, psychology, sociology, business, economics, government, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, art, health, and can't think critically and properly express ideas, both written and verbally, following formal guidelines of logic and rhetoric, then what was the point?

What I've noticed, in the majority, because there are preparatory schools doing things correctly, is that our school systems are designed to not get children properly educated for university, while universities are welcoming it by not setting admission standards high yet making prerequisites and requirement standards, and as a result kids being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to learn what should have already been standard to learn in secondary school as an undergraduate, and that is in addition to what is actually require to become well educated in their major field of study. It's also in addition to what should make you even more "well rounded" at that point. You not only have to take history classes or economics classes, you have to take 100 level classes, which are classes of broad knowledge that you should already possess at that point. These aren't classes that are actually designed to give you deeper, in depth and complex understandings of specifics in regards to that area, which could become interdisciplinary or broaden the scope of your major study, these are just general knowledge courses.

My point is that, we have a system that is set up, intentionally or not, to take advantage of kids and at the same time, charge large amounts of money that really only has, in effect, resulted in massive amounts of debt for mediocre education.

Like Diablo said, if university was free, there could be a leg to stand on in support of our current educational system (though there wouldn't be because we'd still need restructuring an reform), but it's tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, while at the same time, a necessary prerequisite for success in our society.

I agree. Public school is a good place for the well rounded model to be isolated. I am very much in favor of diversity in classes in High School, which is why I advocated the removal of some history and English classes.

For instance, In my high school we didn't have a lot of classes such as philosophy, which I think would be great. On the other hand, I learned next to nothing out of the English classes after around middle school. I actually learned more about English from my foreign language courses, especially Latin. Also, I vaguely remember taking a course about the History of Virginia in Elementary school. So yah, we live in a global economy, so why in the hell are we teaching history of a small state? That seems like way too narrow of a subject, and completely inconsequential.
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20-10-2012, 10:08 AM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2012 01:06 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Attitudes towards education
(19-10-2012 11:59 PM)BryanS Wrote:  I can understand the point that many high schools do a poor job of preparing students. Colleges would much rather not teach remedial courses, but they find they have to because many schools do not do a proper job preparing students for college. Those high schools that do it right offer advance placement classes so you can avoid the intro courses and come into college with credits towards your degree. I ended up taking almost no 100 level classes in college by making good use of advance placement classes and testing out of all my basic entry level requirements.

Actually, a lot of high schools offer advanced placements, but the number of them that do it right is low in comparison. And, as I tried to point out, some colleges will have you take some lower level courses, for general education requirements, regardless.

My larger point was the whole system is screwed up. Universities basically welcome the students our high schools don't properly prepare, even expanding the number of students they admit, to get more money. Our educational standards in general don't help--think No Child Left Behind--but it would nice, even with extremely low standard, standardized tests, limiting the ability of teachers in a lot of cases, if universities put some added pressure on teachers to prepare.

From my experience, our teachers taught to extremely low standards, toward standardized tests. It would have been nice if there was a counter-balance there with university standards. From what I've noticed, our teachers had to, or at least felt they had to, very strictly teach toward the low standards of testing, so it might not have made a difference. Either way, it would have been nice. Personally, I feel they would have picked getting kids prepared for high college standards.

(19-10-2012 11:59 PM)BryanS Wrote:  The problem as I see it is that too many people are going to college who don't need to and who shouldn't be. Careers in the trades and in technology pay well and do not require four year degrees, but there seems to be a perpetual shortage of good people for these jobs. We've made college the end-all be-all for advancement in the middle class when many who go to college would be better off financially if they went to work instead of racking up loans.

Well, by "going to college", I assume you mean traditional, 4-year universities.

For most of the so-called "jobs of the future", you do need some sort of post-secondary training or skills. Problem is we really don't have a system (again the system) that's properly set up for that. We need more government-private sector-secondary school cooperation, so we can properly set people up with opportunity and provide them the ability to more easily make good choices, and have a path toward whatever future.

There are examples of innovation toward that end, with companies helping to provides specific training toward positions they need to fill, but as of right now, especially in America, we are far from where we need to be.

(19-10-2012 11:59 PM)BryanS Wrote:  As I learned in my high school conservation class, TANSTAAFL. There just is no such thing as 'free' education. Higher education may be free in price in some countries, but it is not free cost. If the price were free, that would be no reason to change any standard of evaluating what education is worthwhile. If the economic benefit of the education is not greater than what you pay for it for yourself, it isn't necessarily worth it for someone else to pay that for you.

Actually, first of all, you would still need to change standards for efficiency reasons.

Second, without going in a Marxist rant, I think you understand why the TANSTAAFL doesn't stand up. It's reification. It's not, "it's the economy, stupid", it's, "if you say, 'the economy', you're stupid".

I assumed you would know what I was referring to when I said "free", but was actually expecting you to equivocate it. I guess I was right.

Besides just common sense social responsibility of civilized society, there are actually economical benefits to "redistributing" (if you like that word) wealth to pay for education. Also, that doesn't have to be for a traditional, 4-year university. There are, like I said early, good examples of successful businesses who take it upon themselves to make these types of investments, and I assume it's because they know they will see return on it in the future.

(19-10-2012 11:59 PM)BryanS Wrote:  I say let economics work--stop subsidizing college like we do and cap the size of federal loans. Schools will then be forced to constrain costs in order to keep their pool of applicants up. Some potential students may look at other career options that do not require a four year degree. If 1/3 of the population attends schools, these schools will act fast to not see millions leave the market because it is too expensive.

Furthermore, current laws which do not allow student loans to be discharged through bankruptcy need to be repealed. And here's the kicker--let's make colleges bear at least some of the cost of those defaulted loans. I'd say 50/50 between the college and the lender would be fair. Then maybe colleges would start caring whether it is financially wise to grant degrees in fields with no career prospects. Maybe then colleges would start caring more about whether their education is affordable.

I would disagree with some of that.

Like I mentioned, the entire system is broken, and that's preschool to graduate school.

I wouldn't be for a band-aid solution, that just wouldn't negatively impact the people you had in mind.

Education has to be top priority in any society. Personally (this could just be me), I can't have studies showing, in 2012, only 13% of a population believing in evolution--half the population in young earth creationism--and expect to prosper as a society. Good amounts of people not being scientifically literate in general, or people not being able to answer basic questions about religions they claim to be a part of. Wide income disparities, with a main correlating factor being educational level. People voting for Ronald Reagan, then Bush, then Obama and now disappointed that the country isn't where they would like it.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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20-10-2012, 11:18 AM
RE: Attitudes towards education
My argument is based off of my experience in my classes. The way I write is influenced by my classes in English as well as some of the other gen ed and prerequisite classes. I don't use the knowledge I gained in intro to Criminal Justice daily, but I use the experience as a way of approaching group projects and lesson planning based on how that class did and did not work. My intro to psych class was not particularly useful as far as how I use the knowledge on a daily basis, but I understand better how people tend to anthropromorphize things because of it. My film class was fun, and changes how I look at the history of not only film, but ideas and story-telling. At least 90% of what I do is communicating my information, and that class helped me learn how to better spin a yarn. As did my science writing course for technical writing. The most useless classes I took were in-major classes. My oceanography class and a course in ecology. They were all but pointless as they covered no new information for me.

Do the intro classes make lots of money for the university? Absolutely. Does this money benefit me as someone doing research at a university? Damn straight. I get paid to teach labs and my research funding is guaranteed for 4 years for me to finish my PhD. Did those gen ed and prerequisite classes waste my time at times? Yes, but that is why I prioritized classes in my major first. Did I get nothing out of them? No, I took something away from every class. You get out what you put in. If you aren't getting anything from those classes, then you need to reevaluate how you are approaching them.

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20-10-2012, 12:00 PM
RE: Attitudes towards education
(16-10-2012 09:50 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I guess this fits as well into the politics thread as it does anywhere else.

Universities = liberal factories?
My father-in-law makes statements all the time about how universities are supposedly just socialism factories (my interpretation of what he says, but that is the basic jist of it). My oldest brother has made similar suggestions by noting that universities are primarily inhabited by liberals and democrats in professorial positions. That last point is what my father-in-law is trying to use but is taking it to the extreme and drawing an unfounded conclusion from. It certainly is true that academics tend to be more liberal and more likely to be democrats (there are obviously some republican and conservative universities and professors, but they seem to be the exception and not the rule). My father-in-law and brother however, tend to lean towards the conspiracy that universities are doing that intentionally and not that those with higher levels of education tend to lean towards a more liberal viewpoint. I am starting to get really frustrated at this attack on colleges and universities. My father-in-law does not value education, and my brother is a bit bitter about education as he was unable to go to college while all of his younger siblings did (he has admitted to me that he wishes he had been able to go and would have been most interested in engineering, I think he would be more than capable of that field of study too). I think both of them have a strong desire to find some way to devalue what colleges and universities do and therefore lend credence to their decisions to not go and get an education (in both cases it might be argued that the decisions were not solely theirs to make, but that is another conversation entirely). Both have been successful without it and it could be argued very easily that they did not need it, but others do need it. Some of them need just to learn how to be independent and to learn how to learn.

Academia is overwhelmingly liberal, and that is basically how it has always been. It is not a new phenomenon being pursued by the Democrats and Political Liberals, instead it appears to be congruent with higher education. No one wants to touch that though, because that would suggest that smart people (more appropriate to say "educated people") are more likely to be liberal. That seems prejudice towards the uneducated, but it appears to be true. It should be no surprise then that both my brother and father-in-law are republican.


My second gripe
Attitude of the student
As someone who is still very much new to the realm of teaching, I grow increasingly more frustrated at the level of apathy displayed by my students. I understand that I teach labs for classes that are either A) Required to graduate or B) Uninteresting to them as a field of study. The point however is that the class is there to expand your basal knowledge, not to make you an expert in that field. It is also designed so as to help teach students how to learn, rationalize, and problem-solve. Too often I hear students say
"Screw it, I can't find the answer in the book. I'm just going to write something down because I am so over this right now."
That is almost verbatim of multiple conversations I heard just yesterday. Some of the answers are indeed not in the book. Those questions require *gasp* thinking. I lecture at the beginning of the labs and *gasp* I go over concepts that are integral to the assignment. It seems that most of the students are too busy to pay attention however and rather than taking notes, feel the need to ask me about something I said multiple times during my lecture. *sigh* I enjoy helping students, but not when they can't help themselves.

Aggressive disinterest
This is a bit different from above because some students don't just get frustrated with a question or lapse into momentary comas while I lecture, some of them don't seem to care about education at all. These students say things like
"I should have never taken this class"
or
They make statements about how the school is screwing them because they did not get into the program of their choice because *gasp* they weren't the most qualified.

Class curricula in the US are designed to educate students in their field of choice and in additional fields on a more general level so as to expand the students overall knowledge base and experience. If you don't want to have to take a class in the sciences as a business major, tough shit. It might do you some good if you will get over yourself and listen. Requirements are not the school trying to squeeze every last dollar out of you, that tennis class you took is. Those classes are money-makers and time wasters. The geology class improves your education, the tennis class gets you outside (where you can go anyways) for an hour to work on your backhand (that you can do anyways). Grow-up, you are in college.

The second point in this section is based off of a series of conversations I heard from some of my students during the summer. They complained about a program that they all thought was really good, until they did not get in. Then it was all about the politics and the areas they considered to be BS for getting into the program (like writing, I mean...who needs to be able to write well). The point they could not seem to register was that they were not admitted because they were not the most qualified. Hell, I wouldn't have admitted them into any advanced program either after having had them in class for a month. This sense of entitlement to get what you want (including an undeserved grade, especially as easily as I grade) is rubbish and detrimental to our society as a whole. The university does not owe you anything, you have to earn your placement, admission, and degree. I don't owe you a grade, you earn that by demonstrating your knowledge of the subject. You don't deserve anything, you earn it.


I believe I have ranted enough but now for my series of pleas. These are especially to those who are currently students.
1) You have a responsibility to learn the material, no matter the subject or your interest in it.
2) I don't owe you anything other than an opportunity to learn the material and demonstrate your knowledge or lack thereof.
3) Excuses are pointless and only demonstrate your desire to shirk responsibility. Things do happen, overcome them and do your job. That is what your professors have to do.
4) Not all instructors are created equal and not all are treated equally. On your instructor evaluation forms, write suggestions and criticisms but make them constructive. These are the ways in which instructors can improve and the means by which adjunct faculty who are rubbish at their job can be eliminated.

A final question. I am not far removed from being an undergrad (just over 3 years ago I got my BS) but I apparently lack the ability to connect with some of my students.
How do I actually engage them, keep them awake and off of their cell phones? I mean, I tell brief stories about 10 ft long centipedes and such, but I only get brief moments of attention during these moments. Do I need to just start calling out students not paying attention? I have tried to avoid this so as to not make it seem like I am micro-managing them. Do I just tell them I am going to treat them like adults and start grading like a raging badass? That seem rather capricious.

Some of the frustration you have has to do with maturity of the students entering college. Have you had any returning adult students in your class--either military or someone getting a degree for a second career? Boy, what a difference. You are not doing them any favors by not treating the students like adults and grading them accordingly. You can be nice about that kind of thing though--give people a chance at a one time re-do on a few graded tasks in a semester.

Failure is a very educational experience that unfortunately many students have not had the experience of in high school. You may have very smart students who were used to not having to work hardly at all to get an A in their high school classes, and who could do well if they knew they had to by way of getting a mediocre grade.

I still think many people go to college who should not simply because many feel that is what they are 'supposed' to do. How many 18yr olds really know what they want to do when they go to school? Some may be better off working first, and maybe a 2 year tech school is a better fit either right from high school or after a couple years of working/growing up. Someone who isn't motivated enough to succeed and is going through the motions shouldn't just be shuffled through--they should be failed if that was the grade they earned so that they can either be shocked into improving or they can drop out without wasting more money on a bad decision to go to college.
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20-10-2012, 12:19 PM
RE: Attitudes towards education
(20-10-2012 02:00 AM)Diablo Wrote:  Scientist are still shit at communication. That is pretty evident today, so obviously this well rounded approach isn't working.

An extremely basic intro Human psychology is not going to help you bum for money. That doesn't even kind of make sense.

This is just a rehash of #1, and as I said before, they suck in this area.

I never suggested that foreign languages were worthless. In fact, I suggested to use them as a replacement of rehashed English classes.

All you said was reading, writing, and communication skills were important. That is true for almost anyone. Even if we assume that this is the end goal of the "well rounded" student model, it sure as hell aint the overall outcome.

All those things you talked about could easily be rolled into science classes, and in many regards they already are. In other words, you have proven jack and shit, and jack just ran off with your bucket of shit.

BryanS:
I think you are thinking of the 50s or something.... Very few people who work such jobs can be considered middle class anymore.
[quote]

The skilled trades pay more than teachers make as a starting salary, and typically on the order of ~$40k + benefits within a couple years of experience if they actually work hard. Those who gain more skills and work harder can find themselves making on the order of 50% more than that by working up their skills certifications. Problem is, fields like plumbing, electrical, and carpentry are always looking for good people. Nobody wants to do these jobs anymore, but they pay well and are in need.

And then there is technology--IT in particular is the new middle class opportunity. It requires a 2yr certification. 4-yr colleges do not actually train or prepare people for these jobs. IT unemployment is very low. In some communities--like mine--it is on the order of 2%. Even during the crash, IT unemployment never got higher than about 5%. Those who make an effort to work hard can do quit well in the field without a BS.
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