Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

Mark Twain

This week I read a blog by Morgan Bayda entitled "An Open Letter To Educators" which featured a vlog made by Dan Brown. This post discusses how education has not adapted with technology. Many educators today either don't know how to change their teaching style to connect with students or they don't care. Dan Brown actually chose to drop out of college because he felt that "his schooling was interfering with his education". I left the following comment on Morgan's blog:
"I share your sentiments that it seems like a lot of classes in both high school and college are not very interesting or useful. It does seem like many professors care very little about preparing students for their future careers. Professors seem to mostly just be focused on getting up in front of the class and forcing students to listen to their lectures. I’ve known students who have been given a “b” or a “c” in a class when they had really earned an “a” simply because they did not attend class regularly. The professors were so upset that these students did not want to attend their classes that they wanted to punish them. They never considered the possibility that there was something wrong with their teaching style. Educators need to realize that they are no longer the only source of information now. The information that they are lecturing about can be found from many different sources. Educators need to start teaching students why this information matters and how their students can utilize this information in real life situations. I agree with you that I do not support Dan’s choice. Although he does have a point that there are a lot of problems with our education system, that does not change the fact that nowadays, you need a degree to get a career."
Dan discusses how in the past, information was only available to wealthy, high class people. The public school system changed this. People could now attend school to attain knowledge. Dan says that now that information is available to the masses, our current system of education is unnecessary. People no longer need to go to school to attain knowledge, so why should they attend? I think Dan has a good point that this system of education needs to change to better serve students and prepare them for their future. Dan seems to forget that it is essential to receive a formal education in order to get a good career. Back when information was not readily available, uneducated people could find decent jobs and work their way to the top. Now, this is almost impossible. You need a degree to prove you are a competent, intelligent person. I'm not saying that I completely agree with this system, but that is the way it is. So until that changes, I don't recommend that anyone quit school. The system does need to change, but I don't think dropping out is the answer.
The second post I read was entitled "Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home". This post is about a conversation between two educators who obviously hold very different views about education. One teacher claims that pencils are the reason that many students do not complete their homework assignments and have low standardized test scores. The other teacher tries to offer alternative solutions to this problem, other than taking away students' pencils. What the first teacher doesn't realize is that pencils are not the problem at all. The problem lies with uninteresting assignments or a poor teaching style which cause students to have a lack of motivation.
This post brings up several good points about flaws with the educational system. Number 1, the first teacher is too focused on standardized test scores. She would rather force students to do tedious assignments which simply repeat the same type of problem over and over again than actually allowing them to do fun and intriguing projects. No wonder these students would rather play games than do their homework! Number 2, the first teacher would rather blame lazy students or inanimate objects than admit that her teacher style is the problem. Just like the professors that I mentioned in my comment to Morgan Bayda, these teachers are unwilling to look within themselves and change their behaviors for the benefit of their students. Maybe teaching kids spelling words by having them play hang man is a good idea!

colored pencils


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I removed the comment above because I had too many typos. The corrected version appears below.

  3. "Many educators today either don't know how to change their teaching style to connect with students or they don't care." Or both.

    "You need a degree to prove you are a competent, intelligent person." Does a degree really prove that you are competent and intelligent? We act like it does. But I would argue that it is not proof at all. I once made a speech in which I suggested that it would be better if all colleges and universities (and maybe even high schools) were stripped of their degree granting powers so that we could concentrate on learning. Since I was speaking to educators I was lucky to get out of the auditorium alive. But it is an interesting thought! You are correct though that a degree is a requirement to get a job. But should it be? Draw bridge operators in New Jersey have to have a college degree. Why? Duke Power, in the 1960's, adopted a rule that janitors had to have a degree. The Supreme Court threw out the rule on the grounds that it was racially discriminatory (which it was). What do degrees really mean? That you have been nice to professors for four years?

    Although you have identified an important argument made by Tom Johnson (aka John Spencer), it appears that you did not understand that Tom Johnson's post Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home was a metaphor in which pencils were computers. I will complete my post Metaphors: What They Are and Why We Use Them (A Learning Opportunity) later this week. After this post appears on the Class Blog you will be required to leave a comment. Watch the Class Blog for further instructions.

  4. Well, I was not trying to say that getting a degree is absolutely essential for everyone or that every career field should require a degree. Also, I don't mean to say that getting a degree automatically makes a person intelligent or that people who don't have degrees are unintelligent. What I meant is that in our society, people are now required to obtain degrees for many occupations. Although our educational system is flawed, I do not think it should be completely discarded. For example, a hospital is not going to hire a person to become a nurse if they have no proof that they have the proper knowledge and training. I'm sorry that I totally missed the true meaning of the Johnson assignment. I did realize that the characters were not really speaking about pencils, but unfortunately I missed the computer metaphor. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I appreciate your comment.

  5. Hi Rebecca-

    I agree that professors and teachers should try to expand on the subject matter when possible to make it more interesting and more relevant. I aspire to be a teacher that creates a true learning environment-an environment that encourages questions, encourages critical thinking and laughter! We should be able to laugh at our mistakes and move on! Who wants to take themselves so seriously all the time!

    Good luck in EDM310!

    Christina Henson