Re: [xmca] University & Conformity

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Mon May 26 2008 - 14:58:41 PDT

Sure, Eric. Systems are not one sided. We are dealing with the
student|professor relationship
in this discussion.

Locally we are doing a study of the ways in which the institution TEACHES
grad students to be
"sift and lift" teachers while bragging about their concerns for education.
Do the students DESERVE
rotten teachers? No. Do the professors DESERVE rotten learners? So
critically addressing the
institutional factors that push toward this not-so-local minimum as I
believe you are trying to get this
community of learners to do seems like it has be done using the same
principles we apply to the
overall theoretical framework of learning and development we discuss here.

Thanks for the consistently interesting citations and provocations.

On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 2:50 PM, E. Knutsson <> wrote:

> 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."
> Eric.
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Received on Mon May 26 14:59 PDT 2008

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