Something I continue to find odd is the sheer number of students I have met in all walks of life who want to do almost anything they can to avoid thinking.
That sounds weird, particularly in an educational setting, but the fostering of original thought and investigation seems to be trying. Maybe it is the fields I am in, but the curiosity and desire to rumble things around and work them through are sometimes somewhat lacking.
Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts.
That's what so many of them want, they simply want the chip inserted. Slide it in here please and I'll be on my way.
I find this so very odd.
I can understand why some of them feel this way. I have students, in Canada as well as here, who are being sent to my courses by their workplace. They do not necessarily want to learn the material, but are required to do so.
They tend to be quite diligent, but definitely want to take the easiest route.
That rarely involved thinking. Memorisation, sure. Creative process. They perceive not.
There is also something about becoming a student that engenders a passive relationship to the material. This I believe strongly is trained into us by the schooling system that fundamentally views children as empty vessels into which we are obliged to pour a certain body of knowledge, attitude and experience rather than viewing them as active driving forces of the learning process.
This bites us in the butt later as well. Instead of engendering life long learners, we are engendering life long passive viewers. A self-definition that is inherently receptive and without engagement. Something to be thought about.
I acknowledge that everyone has their own way of learning, but I think every manner of effective learning should involve a certain amount of active thoughtful engagement. No? Yet shy away from it they all do. I was listening to a Yale University class and the prof was urging the students, these may I remind you are Yale students, that exams are a time when they get the opportunity to truly grasp, possess, master and manipulate the material. To think about it in new and creative ways. To search for connections and relationships that they otherwise might not have forced themselves to have gained sufficient knowledge to allow to happen. Not a sticking noise of delight in the background, but I do fundamentally agree with her sentiments and long have. A well written exam, if you have studied for it, gives an opportunity to manipulate and focus the material that does not happen at other times. Fun in fact.
Delightfully, my kids seem to agree (in general). Eldest was checking out a book about paintings at breakfast, and loving it. Youngest's teachers have also commented that she is not satisfied with simply completing the exercise, but rather wants to master and understand it, even in topics she dislikes.
Makes me utterly happy.
On another note. Eldest, who as I am sure you have discerned is a teenager, came home and stated loudly and clearly that she is officially embarrassed to be a teenager.
So sad ;-)