Stuff I Found

Friday, October 26, 2007

Students Today

For the most part, I don't like this video because I think it can be misrepresentative, misleading. If you have students saying things like "I visit thousands of Facebook profiles" and "I don't open all of my textbooks" and "I eat for two hours", even if such things are true, most old people that support modern day education won't be too impressed by such statistics. They might generalize and say or think things like "students today are Facebook internet junkies, which is why they need more education" or "students are lazy, not opening their textbooks and not paying attention in class and eating too much! Oh, students today! Argh!" and they miss the point completely.

And that's the point that the video does include, albeit for a very short amount of time: it's not important! A grade on scantron test, coming to class, opening a textbook, writing that essay, studying throughout the semester instead of right before the exam. In the long run, it's hard for any students (including myself) to see how any of these things matter because they just don't relate to real life at all. But most professors won't see this; it's their job not to. They get paid for the tests, the scores, the essays, the lectures. And employees need that degree if their going to trust you with a job, though you'll probably learn a majority of what you need to on the job.

But... why would professors and employers want to change their ways if students make videos about how much time they spend on Facebook, eating, and sleeping? Professors will think like that high schooler I mention in this post, who claimed high schoolers would just play Halo 3 all day if high school was abolished.

I suppose this is much like "The Provervial Vicious Cycle" shown in Dr. Robert Epstein's book, The Case Against Adolescence, on page 52. The cycle is that "teens act out" (they disobey their parents, become smart-mouths, etc) causes "more restrictions" (a curfew, being grounded, getting chores, etc), which causes teens to act out, which causes more restrictions, which causes teens to act out... it's a cycle. The same sort of thing may be going on in education: "students ignore" (they don't come to class, they sleep in, they browse the Internet for too long) causes "educators educate more" (thinking students are just lazier today, they extend the number of classes required, they give more tests, more homework, etc), which causes students to ignore more, which causes educators to educate more, and the cycle continues.

So, if you can understand that cycle and understand that the uselessness of many college classes is what causes a student's apparent laziness and not that the students are just dumber than the previous generation, then the video is fine... my fear is that many won't understand the cycle and see it as one way; that students today are lazier and dumber and need to be in the classroom for their own good. :(

Case in point: I found this said about the video on another blog:

I'm not sure if this is what we were supposed to take away from this clip but we're left with the impression that today's students are whiny babies.

And, by clicking on the video, you can take a look at the YouTube comments. Many are blaming the laziness of the students for the education problems...


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