"The abilities and attitudes of students affect my life on a daily basis. It is my job, as I see it, to combat ignorance and foster the skills and knowledge needed to produce intelligent, ethical, and productive citizens. I see too many students who are:With a list of provocative book and article titles (eg. "Is Google making us Stoopid?" , "The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric From George Washington to George W. Bush", "The Assault on Reason", etc) it all makes for a potentially depressing reading list, although the reviewer ends up a little more optimistic than you might imagine.
Primarily focused on their own emotions — on the primacy of their "feelings" — rather than on analysis supported by evidence.
Uncertain what constitutes reliable evidence, thus tending to use the most easily found sources uncritically.
Convinced that no opinion is worth more than another: All views are equal.
Uncertain about academic honesty and what constitutes plagiarism. (I recently had a student defend herself by claiming that her paper was more than 50 percent original, so she should receive that much credit, at least.)
Unable to follow or make a sustained argument.
Uncertain about spelling and punctuation (and skeptical that such skills matter).
Hostile to anything that is not directly relevant to their career goals, which are vaguely understood.
Increasingly interested in the social and athletic above the academic, while "needing" to receive very high grades.
Not really embarrassed at their lack of knowledge and skills.
Certain that any academic failure is the fault of the professor rather than the student."
Monday, July 28, 2008
Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, a reviewer in the Chronicle has just waded through a batch of recently published books that bemoan the state of student and wider society's anti-intellectualism, technologies being protrayed as both a major cause and a potential solution. At the risk of ripping a loaded quote out of context....
at 10:33 PM