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Eugene Frier

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How can we best engage college students in the idea of learning instead of just getting a degree?

I work at a 4 year, public university and I see a great deal of students who come to school to get their degree (which they equate to money/success) and do not care about learning. What are your thoughts on the best way to engage them in the actual process of learning. I have my thoughts, but would love to hear my fellow TEDsters thoughts.

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    Mar 13 2013: Eugene, You are starting way to high. This must start at the lowest of grades to be effective. Yes there must be a shift in education. The problems are many: 1) The power in education are the textbook publishers and test writers. 2) interference from state and federal intervention 3) high stakes testing 4) feather bedding by educational administrators 5) and so forth.

    You have to ask some basic questions: why would a professor of law teach at 80 K and complain when he could use that knowledge to amass millions? How can a school of business go bankrupt? Why are Nobel professors are hired to do research and make money for the school and not to teach? Once you stand back and take all of this in you will find that schools are not there to educate you ... they are a business that are very poorly run. States provide billions a year, students pay through the nose, research grants from corporations, grants through the government, donations, BIG money for TV contracts to broadcast their games, and on and on ... yet every year they are ... again broke. So what happens they become a diploma mills to lure in more students to recieve more money and the cycle continues. The beast is in survival mode ... we reward these administrators like politicians .. for their failures. When all of this stops and the onus become the education of the strudents not feeding the beast then you will have your answer.

    I support a competent / non-competent system where you do not recieve a grade but demonstrate your competency to progress to the next module until you complete all modules arriving at a goal. This allows self paced learning while associating with your peers to enhance social development. It does not ask you to regurgate, selct multiple guess, or compete in high stakes testing but demands you show a application of the subject/information.

    Society demands the sheep skin. It does not mean you know anything. Been there seen that at GD Fort Worth.

    Bob
    • Mar 14 2013: I agree with a lot of what you are saying! Until we can make those major shifts though, what thoughts do you have on starting small, one person at a time?
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        Mar 14 2013: If I was to take step one .... I would divide high school circulums into 1) college prep and 2) manual trades and arts. I would follow that with the competent / non-competent as stated above.

        The problem is that we have continued to grow government and until we return to a Constitutional Government we are at a loss to do anything constructive in many areas including education.

        The quickest means would involve the military and industrial complex to only hire the competent and to make a statement to the educational system that they will not accept the product that is currently being turned out. This would have immediate consequences and set change in motion.

        The system accepts no responsibility for their product. Perhaps holding their feet to the fire would also demonstrate the need for a return to excellence.

        Anything is good ... a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

        Bob.

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