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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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Robert Lewis

Posts: 43
Registered: 7/17/08
Re: [math-learn] U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student Learning
Posted: May 26, 2012 4:14 PM
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Having spent more than two decades as a university professor of mathematics, I would say there is a great deal of truth in the notion that Dewey's philosophy has been severely undermined in many, if not most, colleges.

Why? A big question, but several main reasons:

1) The high schools are graduating students who expect training, not education.

2) Most high school teachers are not themselves well educated. [I speak of mathematics.]

3) Politicians want to please a largely ignorant populace, who want an inexpensive public college education for their children.

4) The PhD glut has weakened the professoriate.

Robert H. Lewis
Fordham University



--- On Sat, 5/26/12, Richard Hake <rrhake@earthlink.net> wrote:

> From: Richard Hake <rrhake@earthlink.net>
> Subject: [math-learn] U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on Student Learning
> To: math-learn@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 3:09 PM
> Some subscribers to Math-Learn might
> be interested in a recent
> discussion-list post"U.S. Colleges Put Low Priority on
> Student
> Learning."
>
> 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 <http://bit.ly/Jy1RT9> "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" <http://bit.ly/IOE8wU> 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
>
> decision-making."
>
> 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)
> <http://amzn.to/bunggt>; (b) "Academically Adrift:
> Limited Learning
> on College Campuses" (Arum & Roksa, 2011) <http://bit.ly/gPYBHj>, and
> (c) "College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be" (Delbanco,
> 2012)
> <http://bit.ly/LzpMny>.
>
> Richard Wolin <http://bit.ly/LO1EAC>, in his
> insightful review
> <http://bit.ly/KMwcOb> 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
> END RESULT HAS BEEN THE CONFUSED INTELLECTUAL SMORGASBORD
> THAT
> DEFINES UNDERGRADUATE STUDY TODAY. . .[My CAPS]. . .
> Regrettably, one
> 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
> citizenship."
> **********************************************
>
> To access the complete 19 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/KU0UEy>.
>
> Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana
> University
> <rrhake@earthlink.net>
> Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
> Links to SDI Labs: <http://bit.ly/9nGd3M>
> Blog: <http://bit.ly/9yGsXh>
> Academia: <http://iub.academia.edu/RichardHake>
> Twitter <https://twitter.com/#!/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 <http://bit.ly/>
> 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
> <http://bit.ly/KU0UEy>. 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 <http://bit.ly/LBZX6l> with a provision
> for
> comments.
>
> Tuma, D.T. & F. Reif, eds. 1980. "Problem Solving and
> Education:
> Issues in Teaching and Research,"  Lawrence Erlbaum.
> Amazon.com
> information at <http://amzn.to/jcAK2d>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------
>
> Yahoo! Groups Links
>
>
>     math-learn-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
>
>




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