Re: [xmca] University & Conformity

From: E. Knutsson <eikn6681 who-is-at>
Date: Mon May 26 2008 - 14:50:52 PDT

Steve asks how a teacher gets students to "put aside rote 'sifting and
lifting,' and focus instead on thinking and critiquing," and how a critical-
minded teacher in a high school or college "deal with an uncritical-minded
student who just wants to memorize the right answers."

Perhaps I'm not on home ground here - not having any experience as a teacher -
but from a student's perspective, one could also question whether more or less
disinterested university teachers (to whom teaching is not much more than a
painful duty, a distraction from doing research) to some extent
deserve "sifting and lifting, uncritical-minded" students. My experience is
that (professorial) teachers generally take a dislike to "critical-minded
specimen". Examination results rarely favour such students. Critique and non-
conformity as "disciplinary offence"... In C. Wright Mills' words:

"The graduate school is often organized as a 'feudal' system: the student
trades his loyalty to one professor for protection against other professors.
The personable young man, willing to learn quickly the thought-ways of others,
may succeed as readily or even more readily than the truly original mind in
intensive contact with the world of learning. ... [A]fter he is established in
a college, it is unlikely that the professor's milieu and resources are the
kind that will facilitate, much less create, independence of mind. He is a
member of a petty hierarchy. ... In such a hierarchy, mediocrity makes its own
rules and sets its own image of success."


xmca mailing list
Received on Mon May 26 14:51 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jun 01 2008 - 00:30:04 PDT