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Topic: [math-learn] U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student Learning
Replies: 4   Last Post: May 26, 2012 10:06 PM

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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,251
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
[math-learn] U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student Learning
Posted: May 26, 2012 3:09 PM
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Some subscribers to Math-Learn might be interested in a recent
discussion-list post"U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student

Q. What this got to do with Math-Learn , which is primarily
interested in middle-school education?

A. Most middle-school teachers are products of colleges and teach the
way they have been taught.

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Norman Stahl of the LrnAsst-L list pointed to Julie Mack's
report <> "U.S. colleges put low priority on
student learning, say authors of 'We're Losing Our Minds'." Mack
writes that Richard Hersh, co-author with Richard Keeling of "We're
Losing Our Minds" <> commented at a recent
Educational Writers Association convention: "Higher education really
needs to question its priorities, rewards, structures, principles and
values. Learning itself must become a primary touchstone for

Among other recent books critical of higher education are: (a)
"Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing
Our Kids - and What We Can Do About It" (Hacker & Dreifus, 2010)
<>; (b) "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning
on College Campuses" (Arum & Roksa, 2011) <>, and
(c) "College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be" (Delbanco, 2012)

Richard Wolin <>, in his insightful review
<> of Delbanco's book, has this to say about the
current state of higher education:

"America's most prominent philosopher of democracy, John Dewey,
devoted a considerable portion of his oeuvre to reflecting on the
methods and goals of public education. . . . . In his view, the
pedagogical key to cultivating the virtues of active citizenship lay
with the antiauthoritarian, dialogic approach of the Socratic method:
Dewey believed that democratic education, instead of acquiescing to
the mind-numbing requirements of rote instruction, should focus on
honing critical thinking, thereby nurturing autonomy. . . . .
..although contemporary educators might agree about the indispensable
value of liberal learning, if directly challenged to define its
content and purport, they become stricken with paralysis. . . . THE
of the major casualties of the restructuring of undergraduate
education along vocational and pre-professional lines has been
Dewey's ideal of liberal study as training for democratic

To access the complete 19 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to SDI Labs: <>
Blog: <>
Academia: <>
Twitter <!/rrhake>

"The academic area is one of the most difficult areas to change in
our society. We continue to use the same methods of instruction,
particularly lectures, that have been used for hundreds of years.
Little scientific research is done to test new approaches, and little
systematic attention is given to the development of new methods.
Universities that study many aspects of the world ignore the
educational function in which they are engaging and from which a
large part of their revenues are earned."
- Richard M. Cyert, former president of Carnegie Mellon University,
quoted in Tuma & Reif (1980):

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <> and accessed on
26 May 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. "U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student
Learning," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<>. Post of 25 May 2012 16:57:20-0700 to AERA-L
and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also
being transmitted to several discussion lists and are on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <> with a provision for

Tuma, D.T. & F. Reif, eds. 1980. "Problem Solving and Education:
Issues in Teaching and Research," Lawrence Erlbaum.
information at <>

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