Haha, as Hades said, they dont. I’m in fucking med school and in a group of 20 people, I was the only one that even knew what the words “iambic pentameter” MEANT.
I think Hypharse makes some good points. There is A_LOT to be said on this topic so I find it a little difficult to know where to start. I disagree a bit with Sorc, but I also think he brings up some good points as well.
I’ll start where Sorc started: the teachers. I agree completely that a teacher can make all the difference. I made a point about what teaching meant in Doan’s peace bridge thread. That is the kind of teaching that we don’t see very often for a variety of reasons, the most important being , in my opinion, the kind of person that becomes a teacher. When I look at people in a University, the people that become teachers are rarely the top of their class, the best speakers, the most motivated people that want to change the world. Yet when we see teacher ads, that’s what they want a teacher to be. The reality is that the vast majority of teachers are bottom feeders and you get what you pay for. There are exceptions to this as I have had excellent teachers but in the grand scheme of things, this people are definetly the exception and not the rule.
Busy work: not giving homework is a new age philosophy that is part bull shit , part good idea. A lot of people like to be all sentimental and make up bullshit stories about how tired their kids are and how overworked they are and how atrocious it is nowadays when the reality is that the educational system is become easier and dumber than in the past. However, one has to ask what is the purpose of busy work. You can say busy work is like doing my organic chemistry homework. In 1 year, I did 125 pages front and back of organic chemistry problem just from the book. That is a lot but it was necessary for me to have a solid understanding of how it worked. Writing essays in English is necessary as it gives you time to properly lay down and formlate an argument, which is a necessary and universally applicable skill. Homework in different contexts can be useful, but the use has its limits. Studies (supposedly, I haven’t read them this is hearsay) are showing that smart kids don’t benefit from busy work because its stuff they already know how to do and that lazy kids don’t do the work anyway so ultimately the work doesn’t do much. I think that from the little I’ve read about how these studies work and the mentality behind them, that they’re fairly short sighted and the concepts they look at are oversimplified. They nevertheless make one think about the value of homework.
Now my personal opinion is that I HATE busywork. I hate it with a passion. There is a difference between bullshit like being given a “creative” bullshit project like “make a video” or “make a poster” to make high school an arts and crafts presentation of something. This is juvenile and pointless and it accomplishes nothing except gives people an easy grade to buffer their failures in a non-academic setting. What I loved about UCI is that it worked in quarters and you had no time to give busy work. All work that you were given was directly related to the class. What one would consider busy work like my 125 pages or organic chemistry, that was never assigned. It was up to the student to manage himself so he wouldn’t get fucked up the ass. And I liked that. Do a lot of people thrive in that kind of environment like I did? No, a lot of people get fucked up the ass because at no time are they ever taught the value of doing that kind of work or taught how to manage themselves. In fact, studies are showing that people aren’t even ready to manage themselves in real life. They’re showing most people can’t even compare different prices and sizes for 2 of the same item and make a decision as to what is the better value.
Sorc is right that you can’t teach creativity. Spoonfeeding refers to giving people what they need to know for the exam. While the exam is important as it evaluates if you know how to do something, ultimately, the exam doesn’t ask you if you know how do integrals or derivatives. It asks you if you know what the derivative of x^2 is. You don’t need to know how to do derivatives if you just memorize what the answer is. That’s the problem that Hypharse is talking about. People don’t learn, they don’t understand, they don’t retain material they can apply in other classes and situations. They just learn the bare minimum for the exam and it goes out the window after. This is not an education. Ok , so the problem is that people can’t think. How do you solve the problem that people can’t think? Can you even teach them to think? That’s a good question and I don’t know the answer to that. The more cynical part of me says “no” , that it has to be an individual effort, that someone has to grow and develop that skill and more importantly , want to do so. So is it the fault of culture and human nature or a deficient educational system?
The third point has to do with the value of a 4 year degree. I think that Hypharse makes a good point although , not very clearly. What he’s saying is you have a lot of jack offs going to universities, going into bullshit programs like “communication” to do a meaningless job that didn’t require them to even go to college. This is the reality in a lot of settings. The problem around all that is complex and it has a lot to do with culture in itself and it encompasses more than just how people are not even educated properly by the time they get to college.
The fourth point means that the classes are dumbed down to the students because they students aren’t performing to pre set expectations.