Wednesday, January 23, 2013


What is the most popular discussion during "Happy Hour" on a Friday after a long week? WORK. We love it; we hate; we love to lament about it.

For those working with college students, we lament about the students. In particular, we like to lament about how this generation is SO different from us! We were never self-righteous, indignant, lazy! NEVER! We certainly weren't grade-grubbers. We took the grades that we earned - good or bad.

Well...maybe, a look in the mirror is necessary. This particular article notes quite well the behavior I notice in my students. However, it was written in 1996! That means this way of thinking and acting was alive and active even during the "golden era" of college (i.e. the years 1998-2002 when I was an undergrad).

Maybe I wasn't a grade-grubber...but, self-righteous? Indignant? Lazy? Yes.

It took some really good instructors to work that out of me. I didn't love learning when I entered undergrad - but I did by the time I exited. I didn't know what learning was as a freshman! Certainly, I had learned lessons from life, and I had acquired knowledge from classes. However, my mode of "learning" was to memorize information, regurgitate onto the test - and then, rinse & repeat for the next round. I was pretty good at that. (Even good instructors can teach the the self-righteous out of me.)

Those good instructors introduced me to something new: thinking. Thinking about learning. Defending my decisions/thoughts/opinions with reasons. Sure, I thought a lot. But, I didn't think about what I was learning (in class). This idea of reflecting - of becoming an active participant in my learning (and thus my grade) - this was a new concept. This idea of making meaning from experiences and then applying this meaning to understand concepts - and other experiences - this was new.

I take my role as an instructor very seriously. It is my opportunity to teach my students how to learn; my attempt to "teach out of them" that laziness, indignant behavior...but, I can't do it alone. They have to be an active participant...and so far, I've found that 95% of them are willing.

1 comment:

talklady said...

95% is better than the 1% and the 47% mentioned in political rants. That is something to smile about; forget about the others :-) Actually, they'll probably replace Kim K. some day and there's not much thinking necessary...