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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.

  • Mar 14 2013: I spend almost 8 years in higher education. 4 years of those were about 'getting a degree' the other 4 about learning... The students' attitude has to do with the general attitude of society. The first time I went to college I wanted to become a teacher because I knew it would bring 'bread on the table' (also because I was a little inspired by other teachers). It was perhaps not the best choice I ever made but those 4 years allowed me to grow and understand myself better.
    So after that, I felt I was stronge enough to go my own way and after a little detour in egyptology I ended up studying my greatest love: history. I studied it because I loved it, because I could learn from it.

    The problem with most students nowadays is the fact that society dictates that you have to be succesfull in order to be accepted. And the only way to be that is to be a big earner. Society shows us that the only way to do that is by having a degree that will lead to a well payed job. If we want students 'to learn instead of to earn' we need to show them that chosing money over heart only leads to emptyness. They are blinded by society's story of success and consumption. If we want to engage students we'll need them to want to make the change themselves.

    Modern society is not about making independently thinking, strong individuals of people but rather to make them productive citizens that do not question authority and unless we can change that we will not be able to engage students to learn rather than to earn.
    • Apr 4 2013: Two thumbs up, Kim. I absolutely agree with this and I remember a quote I heard a long time ago that says "you can only lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink" and that's the biggest thing about education and school itself. As an undergrad student right now, I found exactly what it is I enjoy doing and that makes the learning portion of it so fulfilling. Whether or not my professor is enthusiastic does not really bother me because either way I WANT to learn and will therefore find ways to accommodate different teaching styles for the sake of learning. I see a lot of people around me who only want that piece of paper at the end of their 3 or 4 years, not picking up a single thing on the journey and that's just not the way to live! If you're going to be there a few years anyway, why not pick up a thing or two along the way, right?
      • Apr 10 2013: Exactely!
        In my field, history, it is mostly because of the love of learning. At my unirsety they started with almost 400 students in the department of history. Some of those do it because they want to be teachers but most of us, we just love history. The problem within our field , with the education, is that it doesn't leave much room for exploring. Everything is dogma. It kills our sense of renewal. If you try to step outside of the beaten track of scientific history your professors will put you down. In that way even the study of history has been corrupted by the wil of society. For example, all of our academic career we are told that historians can not judge, only analyze. This implies howevwe, that we are not allowed to learn from it either. I think this is wrong, we should be able to use history in daily life, learn from it so we do not make the same mistakes again.
        This is why I did not cosider a academic career, I want to be able to see history through the eyes of a spiritual person. I want to be able to use my imagination, something that is a taboo in the science.
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    Mar 27 2013: Today going to college is considered the "social norm". Students believe they have to go, even if they may not be "college material". Now I'm not saying everyone shouldn't try college, but if students are going to give college a shot , they need to stop thinking it is a prison. As a current college student, I see my fellow classmates just go through the motions of the college life. I feel students will learn more outside of the classroom. If a student was to get involved with clubs or organizations and go out to places like a homeless shelter or give a presentation on something they are passionate about, they will gain more knowledge and experience that the classroom can't teach.
  • Mar 17 2013: By the idea of teaching. I think the teacher is the most important part of a course. As a student, I could see when the teacher was truly excited about the subject and it made me excited and interested. When the teacher was bored and just doing their job, it made learning strenuous and job-like. Teachers need to love what they are doing so they can do it well and with passion, it makes most students as passionate about the subject and enjoy going to that class.
    • Mar 19 2013: A fine analysis of the problem. A good insight view is presented.
      As a medical teacher I found the teaching , learning becomes successful & beneficial when the subject is taught with stories from clinical field and personal experience with passion.
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    Apr 8 2013: Teachers today primarily do the following mistakes.

    Mistake #1:
    “Their goal is to increase knowledge.”

    Mistake #2:
    “They Assume that Knowledge = information.”

    Mistake #3:
    “Conduct a quiz, and we’re done!”


    Every Teachers Goals should be:

    1. Change performance, not just knowledge
    2. “Teach” through realistic experience, not just information presentation
    3. Win learners’ attention and respect with challenging activities, not just bling
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    Mar 30 2013: I suspect few share my view. University and college is not about learning. It is a way station between childhood and adulthood, or a substitute for a right of passage, and is primarily viewed as a way to a better job and life. If you have a passion for learning, it matters little where or even if you go to University, as you will learn what you need to learn.

    So, I would suggest the only way of engaging college students in learning is by exposure to others with that same spark.
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    Mar 27 2013: I think we can best engage college students in learning, by having teachers, alumni and parents sharing their passion for learning. You need to get this fire in your belly to go out and learn about the world, about the universe - anything you need to learn. It must be a life-long passion, not something you do for four years and then you move on to the next phase of your life - maybe a job. If you have that passion, then it almost doesn't matter what school you go to. Sorry, expensive private schools...
  • Mar 21 2013: When schools teach children to think for themselves, the world will undergo massive changes for the good, in most cases.
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    Mar 21 2013: The idea of engaging people with learning should have sparked initially from childhood education. I believe it is a bottoms up type of situation where changing the foundation will definitely perpetuate into adulthood.

    Peak interests by making learning fun and realistic. Education needs to be easily related to the specific age range and demographics of the students.

    The government, or whoever, needs to do more research and actually apply their findings to the educational institutions. We need to break away from factory made children and move into individual growth focused education.
  • Mar 21 2013: Take away the incentives for achieving high grades. A test score of 97% is not an indication of learning or proficiency. It is an indication of memorization. (in general)

    Better yet - Take away grades. Learning is not a competition. And in my opinion, grades reflect poorly on talent. How can a person learn when there is the higher priority of a passing grade?

    Reward based on accomplishment. In the academic world, success seems to be measured by 3 hours exams (or similar). In the rest of the world - the "Real World" - success is measured by achievement of objectives. The time frame of these is weeks, months, or years.

    Do not give lectures and do not require students to read textbooks. Provide students with a challenge, provide them with access to a list of resources, and expect delivery. Who is motivated to read a textbook because they were ordered to? But would you be motivated to seek out and read a textbook on Thermodynamics if it was your mission to design and build a heatsink? Or a textbook on Computer Programming if you had to write a program?

    You cannot force someone to learn. The current model of university tries to. It fails.
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    Mar 19 2013: Great questions!

    As a student, since my first year i discovered something. Acing exams was impossible UNLESS i start to LEARN and UNDERSTAND. The highschool type of studying was not working anymore, I had many chapters to study in a week or so. So I started to look for other ways to gain this knowledge. And here i became engaged in education and it stopped being a matter of acing the exam. When I LIVED what I am learning, seriously things started to be much easier.

    But it was not all me, it was my biology 101 professor who ignited that in us with his excellent way of conveying science. Almost all professors are highly intellectual, smart people, however, few the ones who are good at teaching.

    So as an answer to your question i would suggest:
    - Make exams and assignments impossible for those who just cram to pass and make it easy for those who are familiar with the material. This can happen by including analysis questions, general understanding questions from documentaries and movies... etc.
    - Find professors who are good at teaching, and not only with great researches and achievements.
    - Make students feel that their knowledge is useful. Allow internships, organize fairs....etc. And create a culture in the university that values any effort the student makes towards their understanding of their courses.

    Thank you
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    Mar 17 2013: Learning needs to be a two-way process. Find out what your students are attracted to, and incorporate that into your teaching. Let everyone in the room share their experience. Align your examples with the areas of interest. Show them how what they are learning is related to their goals. Syllabuses are boring, improvise!
  • Mar 17 2013: Teach children to question everything and everyone. Teach them that justice is at the heart of all truth and understanding. Teach them comparison thinking in everything and, teach them how everything and everyone are connected. Teach them its not just what you do say, but just as much about what you don't say.
  • Mar 17 2013: I've read a number of the posts here, and I'd like to give my two cents.

    As a student:
    My job is to get good grades, in order to get scholarships for the next year, in order to get money, in order to get a degree, in order to get a job, in order to get money. It starts at good grades.
    Everyone has their own opinion on grades. Some people consider them harmful to learning, others essential. In my experience, it depends wholly on the teacher. "Get a good grade" can translate to a lot of things. It could mean "demonstrate the material", or "repeat after me", or "participate in class", or "think on your own".
    Different base purposes lead to different results, but more so than that, different ways of executing those base purposes lead to positive or negative results. In short, it's not the format of the class, it's how the format is used.

    As a teacher:
    I need to make sure my students get a good balance of "what is needed to pass the test" and "what is needed to actually do something".
    I've been teaching martial arts for four years now. There is a significant divide between knowing the katas and using the martial art. Students need to know the kata to pass the test. Practical application is often implied, but rarely tested. Knowing the kata trains students in the proper technique, without which they would hurt themselves using the art. Using the art though, is why you learn the katas in the first place.
    I think the important lesson to take from this is that the majority of students will learn what you test them on, but not much farther.


    We then return to the original topic. The test format parallels the martial arts tests. Students want a degree (or their next belt). They will learn whatever is required of them to do so, but not any farther. To go farther requires a different mentality, or a different way of teaching. The teaching is part format, part execution. Set a goal that relates to further learning, then execute it in a way that encourages further learning.
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    Mar 13 2013: I'm an engaged and idealistic learner who entered college incredibly scornful of students who only wanted a degree and had no love of learning, only to realize I was painfully ignorant of the socioeconomic factors involved. My ideals of learning for the sake of learning came from a place of extreme privilege, and I found that by and large the students who simply sought a degree were those who didn't have the luxury of thinking differently.

    I think there are some important curricular shifts that need to happen in order to address this issue. Both courses of practicality and courses of passion need to be requirements in a four-year degree, so that schools aren't divided between liberal arts students with no concrete career goals and preprofessional students who aren't being inspired in class. I think there's a lot that structural reform can do to encourage risk-free exploration.
    • Mar 14 2013: I get what you are saying but I think it comes down less to SES (socio economic status) and more to the individual. I came from a lower SES (my families expected contribution based on my FAFSA was 0), but I still wanted to learn to improve myself. This is based on how I was raised. I know that a lot of factors can drive this sort of thing (SES, culture, etc.), but I think its less about privilege and more about values (which aren't always tied to SES).
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        Mar 18 2013: Eugene, thank you for making this point. You're absolutely right. I certainly didn't mean to imply that I thought all college students without privileged backgrounds were uninterested in learning for the sake of learning. It was just my realization that a utilitarian approach, when present, was often fueled by factors beyond the student's control.
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    Apr 10 2013: Another thing students must understand is that teachers are doing a job. They are trying to build up their credentials so they can get the next big promotion. How students "feel" about the teacher is not high on the list of criteria for promotion. The teacher has to write and get published, has to show initiative, leadership, personal excellence. Teachers are not there to pander to the needs of every slow or lazy student. Kids have to be self motivated and self directed to learn.
  • Apr 10 2013: Curiosity is the difference between actively learning and passively acquiring knowledge. We need teachers that arouse the students interest in specific fields; teachers that engage students to be curious and self-motivated to seek out their own information. A teacher who inspires a student to search and explore for information on their own, in my opinion, is of greater value than the many teachers of today who simply deliver knowledge and information.
  • Apr 9 2013: Have interesting teachers who can engage the students. I am in school right now and I have changed my major several times because I did not like how I was feeling about school. I found myself in an anatomy class and it was there that I found my desire to learn. My professor was engaging, modern, smart, funny, and he didn't read from powerpoints. He was passionate about what he taught and it showed. If we had more professors like that then students may begin to care about learning again. However, college is a means to an end, and most students are not going to school to learn about something that they care about..they are going to school for something that is relatively uninteresting to them in order to get a job. A lot of the interesting degree choices yield very few prospects for jobs though.
    • Apr 9 2013: I also am a college student and I'm in love with learning. As far as my colleagues are concerned I see they miss the big picture of learning. Parents and culture are also stressing financial security over following passion and learning as far as I see it. But above all these I find Galileo's quote absolutely relevant to this subject: "We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves." Once a student discovers the joy of learning in himself no matter how old-school the teacher is, he will learn from him whatever he has to share in terms of passion and knowledge. It will have a healthy disregard for the formal education system in order to make learning a particular subject worthwhile. Of all the teachers I had, the only ones I clearly remember are the ones that made me discover something within myself, that I continued following to this day.
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    Apr 8 2013: Education in our day and time has a distorted meaning to what it actually is. People who study and research things that they are passionate about do it out of curiosity and are driven by finding the answers, while degrees and careers are driven by working and earning a living. To be able to get a job, we require a skill, and thats where what why we choose to study further most of the time, thought we also find when we are studying that there are people who continue studying most of their lives where money plays less of a role than the satisfaction they get from finding answers to their questions!

    I feel that it is some kind of a culture, since companies mostly use degrees as a yardstick for hiring a person so that they certainly have the skills to do the job, yet during interviews, we find that outstanding companies tend to find people with the skills as well as the passion that they require for future development and long term goals!

    I write a blog about many things, and if you see the following link you may see my views on what i feel about the learning process: http://thinkrandomness.blogspot.com/2012/04/everyone-is-scholar-and-teacher.html

    Thanks
    Yusuf
  • Apr 8 2013: I have been working with this firm and giving lot of my ideas and working on project simultaneously while studying is what gives responsibilities and which gives a better purpose for life than to just study and pass out which merely wastes time in finding a direction to life.
    i am thank full that i could work on this project which aims to get the sports equipment reach houses where shooters can train. http://www.elitescorer.com/Home.aspx this the firm..
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    here i got to learn lot of techniques in marketing and people skill..
    one of the main reason why ppl invest is because they are usually successful in their field and hence its important to deal sharply with the successful sharp people..
  • Apr 3 2013: Since I am a student and have found flaws in the way I have been learning I have found their is an absence of accountability. On students and professors parts, I want and need to be challenged so I know I can do these things at a job and professors must want to teach and have a passion for the subject. The use of the internet has even though added a great addition to learning it has made finding information easier therefore s student doesnt have to rely on themself to know or understand something.
  • Mar 31 2013: I think it's more of a cultural thing... I'm a first generation student and my initial reasoning for getting into college was based on bettering my life (money/success). That's just what you did to have a better life...

    As for how to engage the process of learning, I'd have to agree with Mark on this. Some of the classes I learned the most in were taught by professors with the highest expectations. Each professor tailored their class to test for understanding, not memorization and regurgitation.
  • Mar 30 2013: I find it interesting how many answers interpret the word "learning" in a very specific way, as method and not as objective. Your cue, which opposes learning to "getting a degree" leaves me with the interpretation of learning as "knowledge for its own sake", or more to the point; "knowledge which enhances ones quality of life in ways that are not directly marketable."

    I see the essence of your question as: "how do we convince students that 'non-directly-marketable knowledge' has its own self-defining value?" .

    I think our culture is so currently so wrapped up in "education as survival skill," that the idea of paying money to gain knowledge which is not immediately weighted by its ability to return a visible, quantifiable profit (by your implied definition) lies, essentially, outside of the awareness of most current academic settings, public forums, political agendas, and, finally, and most telling for our collective future; candidates for, and graduates of, higher education. May you find success in your efforts.
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    Mar 29 2013: Make it hard to succeed. Really hard. Design your course so that students are pushed to the very limit of what they're capable of. When I know I'm only going to have 3 hours to write a 4 hour exam I'm forced to go beyond simple memorization and regurgitation; I need to know the material inside and out. When I walk out of that final I couldn't care less about the grade; all I feel is a profound sense of accomplishment. I have a few professors who challenge me this way. I have no idea what they get paid but I can say with confidence that whatever it is it isn't enough.

    My university is a cash cow for the government. It markets heavily to international students (who pay 3x tuition) and pumps out degrees. Academic misconduct is widely tolerated and many students are handed credentials they do not earn. By raising the bar you help people like me by preventing my degree from being watered down. When an employer sees Bachelor of Business Administration on my resume I want him to think of 'Rocky Balboa' and not 'Bill and Ted'.

    I can't help but wonder how many of my resumes will be cast aside because the person I'm hoping to replace came from my school.
  • Mar 23 2013: If getting a job is the primary driver, it is questionable that you can engage most college students in learning itself as a primary priority. Most entry-level jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. Many mid-level jobs require a masters. The focus is on the paper or the letters after your name; not the knowledge. My experience [in human capital businesses and as a business owner and now human capital consultant] indicates:

    1. the degree provides a quick & dirty way to assess assumed knowledge and ability to learn. It is a false assumption. A degree indicates that an individual sat through a series of required classes, absorbed at least the minimum information required to pass tests required to graduate. Much of this experience is unrelated to the skills required to perform well in most industries - profit or non-profit, public or private. There are many people with advanced degrees who can talk about their area of expertise, but have no idea how to actually product results. There is also very little if any emphasis on the communication skills and emotional intelligence needed to move ahead in almost any job.

    2. To actually assess knowledge - and very importantly, ability to continuously learn and adapt - would require time, knowledge and ability that is absent in most organizations. It's easier to slap a 'must have' requirement on the job posting, even if a large percentage of people with that degree are not a good fit, don't produce expected outcomes, and either wash-out or are accommodated indefinitely as under-performers.

    3. Most assessment processes do not adequately predict ability and willingness to do the job, perform well as part of a team to produce results, nor even minimal skills needed to be functional.
    Bottom line, sad to say: Most students are smart enough to understand the rules of the game and need a job to pay off their student debt.

    Love of learning is a luxury. Still waiting for superwoman!
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    Mar 21 2013: hmm. I can think of several ways which are more foundational. Changing the culture of learning or Instill the love of learning at a younger age. Encourage learning for life skills etc.

    However, I see the main challenge you are addressing is the reason the students are at college. They are there for the degree to get a job. The students that are attending the college NOT for a job and instead are there to actually learn will not need to be addressed in a new manner. They already want to learn.

    So for those that want the degree and that is all they care about.... How about getting several high level executives from local companies to visit and give them this speech. "Ladies and gentleman, our company requires a 4 year degree. But that just gets your name on the list as a candidate. We will very quickly weed out the individuals that have not really learned this material."

    From my talks with hiring managers, that is the approach they take.....hmm. perhaps not the best solution. But it might get them to actually take learning seriously
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    Mar 21 2013: In a world going faster and faster, i think it will be an effective idea for the majority of universities around the wold to get involved in the online education why classes in colleges study courses from big universities like MIT or Harvard to their students.
    i think it will make a big jump in the educational process in the developing countries in Africa of Asia.
  • Mar 21 2013: focus on teaching them techniques, and not on random general knowledge, combine this with work as apprentice ships, the main need of any student is money and not knowledge, if the knowledge produces or guaranties money, then every one is happy!,it sounds simple, and it is. the second priority is ethics as no one likes abusers
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    Mar 21 2013: Please don't think that college students haven't learnt anything before they come to your college to get a degree. Most of them have learnt that they need an earning and getting a college degree increases the chance of getting a paying job. We have devised an utilitarian society where being rich and resourceful equates success in life so there is no point blaming our youth having lesser concern for learning in academic sense of meaning.
    We have systematically dissociated academic inspiration of learning from our education system. In India, Education is simply a career option. If you are a mainstream teacher possibly you are teaching for a pay, your University must be having a placement office catering to job market. Education system of this type is an economic enterprise and the incentive is clearly fiscal. To try to get the young minds inspired to learn for pure academic fulfilment in this system is like trying to pull a cart sitting on it.
    We look at brilliant and genious minds of our society with awe because we feel deep inside that the system sucks and these gifted people are exceptions not rules.
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      Mar 21 2013: So according the system actual intelligence no longer matters, and as long as you can make a profit, then you are considered "intelligent"?
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        Mar 21 2013: Intelligence does matter but as long as it can be applied to make 'profit' not a life changing value set. Real learning is not concerned with money but how you see its dispensing value, among other things.
        I would like Ethics, Morality and Philosophy be part of academic syllabii right from junior school and Institutions will laugh at me.
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          Mar 21 2013: I think the earlier the better. I don't think it could hurt to introduce them new ideas, unless study shows that children at the ages of 7 learning Ethics, Morality, and Philosophy will explode....ha.
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        Mar 21 2013: Sure. I tried it with my son when he was 4 years old. I would take a Cadbury chocolate to him amd say: you can eat it and have all the fun but you can share it with a friend and have fun together. He ate the chocolate all by himself first time. From next day on, he would give half to his cousin and ask: did you enjoy it?
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          Mar 21 2013: That's awesome!
        • Mar 21 2013: You should really be honest and tell the full story. First we should name the characters to make this fable easier to follow. We will label your son as Al and his cousin as Chad.

          If we back the story up to the previous day we find out that Chad already has in his possession one-half of a Cadbury chocolate bar. Chad leverages his Cadbury to barter self-indulgent pleasures such as a footlong Subway sandwhich, a 20 oz. Coke, two cigarettes, and a Redbox movie rental. Chad wakes up the next morning and starts throwing a temper tantrum after coming to the realization that he has no more chocolate. The conniving little cousin quickly calls his Aunt, your wife, to make sure others feel pitty for the kid who has to live without chocolate. Your wife pulls Al aside and guilts him to feel like he is a capitalistic pig for hoarding chocolate even though Al busted his backside for the past two weeks doing chores around the house to win favor with his mother.

          Al reaches out to his cuz Chad, semi-reluctantly giving him one-half of his hard earned chocolate bar. Al's dad applaudes the move and feels the jesture is just since Al has more chocolate than the average kid in his neighborhood. Chad mean while snatches the gifted chocolate bar, stomps out of the room where he and Al were conversing while complaining that Al should be donating even more just before slamming the door in anger.
  • Mar 19 2013: Ignite the students passion for learning. Test the fundamentals, but inspire every student to create or participate in projects that will reinforce the fundamentals while expanding knowledge, skills, wonder and awe. If your classroom is not like kids happily playing in the park, try to make it more so. My passion for learning was not truly ignited until I was doing my Master's degree in Special Education, when the professor asked, "is this project going to be something you will use in your own classroom? No? Then, why are you doing it? Pick a project meaningful to you." Wow, I realized. School is supposed to be about learning that is meaningful to me? Fasten your seatbelt, Frank, we're kicking in the afterburners.
  • Mar 19 2013: As a medical student I have felt the exact same way! I have been inspired to go into medicine by a single class of high school biology... Ever since I've been more passionate about medicine than anything else in life :) but now as a medical student I find myself more interested in the subjects in which my teachers are enthusiastic and interested themselves!
  • Mar 18 2013: Well, as a current student, I can honestly say that it really just depends on active engagement. Then again, that's just for people like me. That could mean getting them involved in extracurricular activities (things like student newspaper, student government or number of other things). Honestly, being actively involved as an undergrad is what kept me from dropping out. Though after getting into grad school, I started caring more about the learning after being told "You have a lot of great ideas. We're going to help you organize them into something shareable." If I had someone saying that during the pre-grad school part of my education, I probably would've been engaged and actually cared about my education pre-grad school.
  • Mar 17 2013: Every year of college should include at least of 3 months of practical experience (related to field of study); minimum-wage should be paid to student by concern where he is working to ensure this period is taken seriously by all stake holders.

    This way both Academicians and Industry / Employers are linked.

    Practical experience would give a chance to student to apply theory and stimulate his imagination.
  • Mar 17 2013: YES!!! I'm a little crazy about this question because I'm still stuck in the middle of it so I admit that is a bias. IMHO I think the problem in general is that school gets in the way of learning instead of facilitating it. There are three suggestions I have.

    1. Adopt technology. Its just the way we think and work and it will facilitate everything else we need to do.

    2. Allow more flexibility. Yes there are a lot of interesting things in the world but I only have so much time and so maybe I want to spend more time learning about genetics and a lot less thinking about something someone else thinks is a worthy subject. If you do this people will be more interested because they can tailor their individual major and it would be even better to be able to tailor individual classes.

    3. Focus on skills. In the end the biggest thing I want from college is the ability to actually do something. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off if I could have just gotten an internship or apprenticeship that would have actually taught me an actual skill. Even complicated things can picked up in this manner. The most useful experience I had was volunteering in a research lab.

    I'm not sure about the details but I do know that I feel like college sucks the excitement out of learning, even subjects that I love. This needs to change and I'm willing to make a big push for this.
  • Mar 17 2013: School is work, everyone forgets that for most kids learning is stressful because they are not in the highest intelligence bracket. Very smart people forget what comes easy, naturally and is fun/stimulating to them, is painful and stressful to most other human beings.

    Learning = work = stress to most people to whom must spend more time and energy to learn and because its painful it's not very fun.
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    Mar 14 2013: it depends on teacher that how well he is able to present ideas in class. I had an experience to teach college students .As long as I was using conventioanl methods of teaching they were not showing much interest.Then I switched to multimedia and movies , showed them real life examples. Occasionaly i took 5 to 10 minutes of the lecture time to talk something , i thought, they might like to hear (motivational stories, or interesting facts).

    Making teaching experience more creative can help to some extent but for an effective solution, Yes! paradigm shift is must.
    • Mar 19 2013: Yes. True Any subject can be made interesting by the teacher by proper planning. Definitely student will take interest for self learning.
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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.
  • Mar 13 2013: This is a very complex question that has plagued the university system since universities began.
    My answer here is that it is up to the student to decide what he or she is going to get out of the system. It is not up to the system to provide anything on a silver platter.
    The last time I was in a bricks and mortar university was 1976 at Western.
    It has 4 professional schools (Meds, Dents, Business and Law) making up the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. If you were aiming for one of these then what ever you were learning on the path was of no consequence. You would sabotage anyone to get a better mark.
    If you were in PolySci you were here because you were going to run the world and whatever you were learning was really beneath you but part of the process.
    Then there were the girls (don't beat me up for this, it WAS 1976 after all) who were at the U to snag a husband. You could tell who they were because they dressed up for supper in residence like it was a cotillion and the big parade was going to get icecream at the end of dinner. It would take an hour for the walk up and back. (Really....you had to see it).
    The university then as they all are now, is a research and publishing machine. Teaching is an unavoidable side effect and part of the funding process that the administration has never figured out how to drop.
    There were however, exceptional professors who overcame all that to reach the students who were there to learn about a topic. They knew your name, what you did in class and what you did out of class. If you were really interested in a topic, class work would just scratch the surface. You had to use your time at university to dig in using all the resource you could scrounge.
    Those students are the ones you can reach. Most of the others are just passing through your area of expertise but hopefully they have snagged onto are area they are really interested in and they will dive in.
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    Mar 12 2013: I'd love to blame the students, but I think the onus falls on the professors. When i was at uni I didn't care about learning too much, but the right teachers got me interested in the subject and working to learn more. With the right direction and well chosen assignments a students attitude can shift completely. But if the professor is going to give stale lectures and mindless assignments so that they're doing just enough to get their pay packet, then the students will pick up on that and do just enough to get their degree.
    Otherwise, I think the timing of university is wrong. I study more now than I ever did at uni. 15 years later and I am more of a student than a teacher. When you're 18 -22 you only focus on socialising, meeting girls and having fun, exploring the world and enjoying life. We should encourage people to work and travel for 2 or 3 years before going to university when they might actually want to learn.
  • Apr 10 2013: The easiest and the most efficient solutions to this problem is:-

    1.Change the mindset of the young students.Avoid drilling into their minds the idea that good education leads to better life.

    2.From primary education encourage only practical knowledge avoid mugging and all such inefficient studying.

    3.Let students harness the aid of 3d modeling softwares for better understanding.

    4.Let students play with 3-D models of everything they learn,let them manipulate the world around them by this they will absorb concepts much better and leads to greater retention.

    5.Last but not the least give least importance to exams in a students life bcoz only then he/she will focus on learning and absorbing a concept and applying it in real life rather than studying for exams and forget it after that.
  • Apr 10 2013: One of the biggest problems I see with university studies in particular is that they are dissociated from what the job market values in terms of skills. Most jobs require a fairly high level of technical skills, and yet most High School graduates lack even the most basic skills to be considered for an entry level job. Universities have traditionally managed to bridge that gap, but as technological changes have accelerated, even Universities are finding that they are ill prepared to deal with the rapid developments and changes.

    I live and breathe IT across a pretty broad spectrum - everything from servers and networks to low level users and even disabled people. The one common thing I see, time and time again, is how - even 20 years into the "information age", workers are still unable to deal with even the most basic technology issues. The really scary thing is that it includes relatively young users as well - often recent college graduates.

    In my narrow world view, we shouldn't allow a single college degree unless they could demonstrate some competence in basic computing skills and typing. At this point every person should have some training in being able to tell what spam and malware looks like. Instead, we (taxpayers) spend inordinate amounts of our dollars and teacher's time in classes on art, photography (anyone still developing film? LOL!), cooking, and sports. We truly have a nation of amateur athletes that don't know how to turn on an All-In-One computer or know NOT to click on every single link in their emails.

    Get a curriculum that is based on industry needs, and which directly leads to competitive jobs and internships with leaders in our various industries. Hold a carrot up in front of our freshmen: "Learn this and earn a real career with unlimited potential", instead of "show up and get a certificate for your wall". Instead of mandatory intro courses on how to find food on campus, perhaps a job-fair or two?
  • Apr 10 2013: We must first alter our typical education program in the grade levels. Curiosity is squandered by today's formal education, all schools look for are results, so who cares about the arts and broadening ideas in science or research, if the standardized test scores aren't up to par the school isn't successful. How can we hope for us college students to have a drive for curiosity and research when we're being taught that all we need to focus on is getting the grade and that we need to learn how to crunch numbers and fill in bubbles. We're being brought up to live a corporate lifestyle in which everything is standard. you answer phones fill out paper work, and go home. Colleges offer so much for us students but we follow such a common path of schooling that we take whats required we don't expand our horizons because we're taught not too. I'm in college now, I'm in my third year at a community college, now many people will tell me that i must be doing poorly because i should have transferred out by now and that i'm behind, but I'm one of the few who got through the sieve, I look through the courses offered and take just about anything that interests me on top of what is required for my degree. Yes it will take me a bit longer to get my degree, and yes some say its a waste of money, but to me its the ability to become more well rounded and to actually learn new things that are out there. I'm pursuing a degree to be a Elementary and Special Education teacher, but in the mean time I'm taking other things that interest me and as working with kids already i feel like learning and being curious with my own studies will only help me become a better teacher, and hopefully when it comes my time to guide a class of young curious minds, I will be able to help them pursue and strengthen their own curiosity. to encourage today's college students to learn rather than just rush for a degree we need to change their early education and stop ruining our drive and love of pursuing knowledge
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    Apr 10 2013: When I started back to college @ 38 yo, I was interested in metallurgy and welding, after completing a one year program I moved on to an associate of applied science. Along the way I picked up an associate of liberal arts. When I moved to a four year university I designed my own program through University studies. I took writing classes, communication and journalism, fine art, and English. What surprised me was what I didn't know but needed to before I started into any new course of study.

    I think all schools need to take student feedback more seriously. Students need to be prepared for the rigors of college from K-12. I read a lot of student papers which demonstrated very poor grammar and poor organization skills. Colleges have to provide more of an educational "experience" if they want students to have a zest for learning. It's also a good idea to point out that knowing a little about a lot of fields helps you navigate in society. Where learning everything you can about one field will help you earn a living. Both are necessary.
  • Apr 10 2013: I certainly agree with Matt. In the past, college was just a place for me to go get a degree. Now that I've served in the Marine Corps and had those years to become more mature, I definitely see college as a place to go learn and become more educated about everything. Instead of just oh yeah I need to go to college for a degree or else I wont go anywhere in life.
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    Apr 9 2013: As a recent college graduate, I can attest that I have been more motivated to learn after graduation. I think that if college were delayed, and students were given a few years to mature after high school, and to enter the workforce, college would be seen as a better opportunity to learn rather than a place to get away from home.
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    Apr 9 2013: We learn from the best teachers. They need to make things interesting and guide students. If you tell me that I must learn these 5 chapters for a test on Friday then I will cram them in order to pass. But if every day you show students the relevance and importance of what it is that they are being taught, in everyday life then they are most likely to learn and remember it for a long time, and from that they can create with the knowledge they have.

    ps. this is a good topic; I remember very little from my degree that I acquired 7yrs ago...
  • Apr 9 2013: Today's talk by Dr. Hrabowski really pointed out a lot of these issues. The main problem is something that he discussed at the end of his talk. College/university courses aren't very well designed and structured. They're presented by tenured professors who are out of touch with the current generation or the industries that their students want to get into. Many of them are not good presenters or teachers, and see the classes they teach as a distraction from research. A lot of the coursework is busy work. Tests really aren't very effective. Many of the course I took in university didn't stimulate learning and academics and didn't prepare me for a career. Which makes them useless in very real sense. People spend money on a college education so that they can get a job afterwards, they don't do it to learn because its not a great place to learn. When I really want to know something I go to the internet. You can't just trust everything on the internet, then again, your professors opinion isn't always right.
  • Apr 8 2013: Well for that I think you would need to convince them that the knowledge they get will actually help them become better at what they do.

    If you look at industry where students want to learn more and the discipline itself is more important than the grades, such as Visual arts and Design, you realize that the passion students must develop for these things stems from the facts that they are doing something creative and in the industry they will have to keep creating things and coming up with new stuff...

    So to achieve the same results in sciences you have to adapt the same approach, instead of having students recite formulas for no apparent reason, they will be introduced to the complex problems of our world, to the applications of sciences and how the students can help influence developments and make patents they can sell for money. (Disgustingly sad but in our current society that is the carrot at the end of that stick)

    Also means that instead of relaying on grades and scores to get a job and secure income there will be actual encouragement of independent study and research and teachers will want to wad through a slushpile of ill composed essays about how this or that can work using what they learned. .

    Presenting students with examples of how the knowledge they gain can be applied or is important is crucial at every step of the way so they can be inspired to learn more and come up with their own stuff.
    Showing them TED lectures might help.

    The problem with this approach is that usually there are Students who are not interested in some schools of knowledge so they tend to disrupt studies for everyone by acting difficult..
  • Apr 7 2013: I believe we should look back to the greeks. they had the word "skole", meaning leisure, which later would become "school" in english. leisure meant not simply relaxing recreation, but kind of making search of knowledge and wisdom your lifestyle. finding joy and feeling like you belong just as any other activity we do, but by learning through discussion, practical experimenting and drawing experience from others.

    for this to happen money wod have to seize being boss. seeing as few of the sciences and researches that are important and urgent are not profitable..
  • Apr 2 2013: www.coursera.org The world thought Facebook was useful. Third world countries will re engineer the planet with TED and coursera.
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    Apr 2 2013: The Curricular in these colleges also needs adjustments. You will agree that they are very bulky, centered only on those students who can quickly 'gun' material, rather than learn it. I think the problem starts from childhood. The whole learning environment has to be centered on learning, shaping our minds to question stuff. Then we may be ready to do it with the mental attitude required.
  • Apr 1 2013: It is the way our society works. We are supposed to get a good university degree which would open doors for jobs in good companies and resulting in a life-long job (and secured life).

    Companies / Govts are offering jobs to people who have degrees from reputed colleges. They do not want people who are lifelong learners. How can we expect students to be lifelong learners in such conditions.

    Funny fact is - Companies say they do not get skilled people (ready to delivery value - for salary paid - from day one).
  • Mar 31 2013: Get them to contribute to the body of knowledge rather than just regurgitate it. Every class should have soem means of enabling students studying the subject to make a contribution. The contribution does not have to be much, like a perspective, and example problem, and application, a concept or thought, but there should be some way to collect and archive some of the thoughts of the thinkers in your classroom.

    This might be the difference between and means to an end and a personal association with the subject material. Often, once you make a contribution, it is infectious, and you want to continue. That is the desire and passion you need to capture.
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    Mar 29 2013: Ditch the lecture style and incorporate different learning styles into it. For example role plays, field trips, experiments and laboratories for the kinaesthetic learners, handouts, booklets, written material for the reader/writer learners, video clips, visual aids, powerpoints for the visual learners, and audio and video clips, and discussions for the audio learners. Also, adult learners are more engaged in their learning when they feel a part of the learning. Having group discussions, debating different theories, mock trials, and encouraging learners to share their knowledge and experiences in the context of learning. Works wonders. I am a trainer, and I have also lectured at University. I have many people approach me after the trainings where I have incorporated all of the above, to tell me how much fun they had, how passionate they are now about the subject, and how much they are looking forward to using what they have learnt out in the world. It seriously works!
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    Mar 27 2013: I think the best way to get us students to learn is to be really engaging with students. Most of the lectures are delivered one-way, not encouraging students to share their opinions on topics being discussed. The most chance students have to say anything is during exams, by which time they barely have any in-depth understanding of what they have been taught. Professors should ask questions, get students to make talking-points, encourage group discussions, and the culture that 'no answer is a bad answer'. I think that students are willing to learn, it is only that the style of teaching now does not really emphasize learning, just studying.
  • Mar 27 2013: I wish this was after my first comment, where it belongs.
    By the way, over the years I have been employed as a teacher in private schools whose students were accredited by the respective states and countries where I taught. I have edited a newspaper and worked as a salaried copy writer for magazines. I functioned as a salaried researcher in applied science, as the data processing manager for an auto parts wholesaler, managed a branch for that wholesale business, and never once was asked about my educational background. I was generally hired away from my current employer by one of his associates or friends who became aware of my job performance.

    Drive, your own thirst for knowledge, and your personal desire to improve yourself and anything you touch will hold you in good stead with whatever endeavor you have decided to pursue. Formal education will open many doors for you, but personal excellence cannot be overestimated.

    I have a young acquaintance without a high school diploma or even a GED who landed a job during the height of unemployment as dishwasher in a newly opened restaurant. After a year he is being groomed as a cook and assistant manager. The owner has even spoken of opening a new branch with him in charge. Hard work, dedication, and loyalty still go a long way toward personal success.
  • Mar 27 2013: The raison d'etre and modus operandi of colleges mitigate against a desire to learn. These institutions are designed to deliver a series of studies some other person has decided should be of interest to a student and the mastery of these subjects is but a step toward a goal of employment that a student needs.

    Furthermore, these studies proceed at a pace that may not even closely approximate the learning abilities of the student. Today that student has far more efficient, specialized, and relevant means to acquire whatever knowledge that captures his interests or needs.

    We must differentiate between "formal" learning and practical individualized education. Everyone is learning in every moment of their waking, and sometimes even their sleeping, hours. Much of that learning is incidental to their everyday environment, but they are also acquiring knowledge that satisfies their curiosity and the incidental encounters that spark their interest. Look at how rapidly students learn the skills, niceties, and accepted language distortions of texting and tweeting, for example.

    Unfortunately, with the explosion of information and the burgeoning of tools that replace once required learned techniques much of formal education has become irrelevant.

    Software can design a building to my liking and guarantee it will meet all physical constraints required as it complies with all codes. Word processors can guarantee correct spelling and acceptable grammar in what I write. Calculators can apply geometric, algebraic, and calculus operations without my needing to know how those things are done. Google can translate articles written in any foreign language. Even my cell phone can translate conversations I may have with others who do not speak my language. Formal education need to be modernized to the world in which it operates. Otherwise it is just a ticket an antiquated system forces one to buy to get many jobs in the work place.
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    Mar 27 2013: by having responsible teachers that make learning exciting. having the ability to make things relevant.
    out with the boring
    in with the exciting

    Cheers
  • Mar 26 2013: To get students to really learn, I think the university curriculum should be revised to include a session where students meet as a class or group to discuss issues affecting our nations and the world at large and how to fix them. We get students thinking on their feet in helping resolve these problems. They can use such group/class discussions as a platform to assist governmental policies that would eventually better the lives of the populace. With such platforms, students can be made to share ideas which they think might impact the world in the long run and I believe, they would have learnt a lot even before leaving school
  • Mar 26 2013: I think their should be more company sponsorship deals to help young people get into the workplace earlier than the norm. It is important for young adults to enter the world of work early. In Germany there is a system whereby young adults enter work on internships, once these are completed they have the choice to go to college or university or are offered a job at the company they work for. Work provides a great foundation before obtaining a degree or starting out on a career.
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    Mar 25 2013: Encourage "flow" :
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness :
    http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html
    And Intrinsic motivation.
    Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html
    To deal with the finance bit, just teach them happiness can (and should) be a mean rather than an end. Show them statical data that money doesn't (necessarily) correlate with happiness.
    And accept all different types of intelligence, and skills and don't neglect any of them. Also have knowledge of a "self-fulfilling prophecy", and encourage self-control/ will-power. And teach students that making mistakes doesn't mean your a failure, and lets schools be more accepting for introverts and extroverts alike.
    While your at it, try and make education personalized a little bit.
    It's as simple as that.
    Hope this helps :)
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    Mar 25 2013: Simply by not making a college degree the pre-requisite for job selection. The company hiring people should appoint talented and practical recruitment managers, who have a deep understanding of the company for which they are recruiting. Like in the good old days :))

    It it so happens - utopia - than those who will enter colleges will learn to get true knowledge and wisdom and not learn to earn. I have just kept my answer limited to your question - how best to engage college students to the idea of learning - the above is one such idea.
    http://www.hikmaah.com/showartcl.asp?article=13
  • Mar 23 2013: Have really good teachers. No bad apples. 15 pupil per class max.
  • Mar 21 2013: Lol, ok, rub it in, you're younger and better looking. ;-D
    I'd love to hear the system is teaching kids to think for themselves.

    I'm just happy I can still do my job.
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    Mar 21 2013: Teach instead of regurgitation, however if I had to guess you might be one of the few that do teach. In my four years at college I actually only had a hand full of "teacher's". One so called teacher asked the class why we as a class did so bad on our test. And students raised their hands and said a bunch of different things. I raised my hand and said "It's because you don't teach us, you just said up there and read off a projector" Needless to say grades improved

    regurgitation is not an education
  • Mar 21 2013: Consider each website you've spent time on. Then consider how each site feels it must play the numbers game, meaning, that subjects that can be addressed by more people, are going to be promoted to the top of the list, so to speak. Then consider how most people are prejudice in soooo very many ways, MODERATORS?Now who controls each site? Once you figure out that mediocracy wins out most always, is it any wonder our societies dumb themselves down. Mod 1 to mod 2. I don't like that guy, I'll not post this one of his or I'll take that down, or he's an idiot or a know it all or he posts too much or--or--or
    Perhaps we should all expect just a little more from each person, everyday.

    Of course that would never happen here, right.

    None of us is without prejudic, but perhaps just being reminded of such from time to time, might be helpful.
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    Mar 21 2013: this is caused by the business world which rewards financial success, not knowledge. actually, you don't even need to know much or be very educated to be successful in business. any young person knowing that cannot be motivated to learn much.

    those who do not intend to work in business are usually motivated by their passion.

    probably the best way to help people learn is to make them understand the value of questioning. we should never stop learning, but we should not rely on educational institutions or similar sources of knowledge.
  • Mar 19 2013: As a current student, and sitting in a class lecture at this moment, I would suggest requiring the students to present a topic weekly of which they must hand in a summary of the presentation. I had taken a class last semester that followed this method and it seemed to keep most students engaged and sharing as the semester proceeded.
  • Mar 18 2013: I've found the first thing that is necessary is getting them to actually read -- all too often I assign a book and hear f"But I've never read a book all the way through since junior high (and some didn't even read then). Unfortunately, there are way too many distractions and alternate activities. If you can get them to read, you can generally find some area of interest that grabs them and move on from there. I'm lucky in that my "students" are court referred and their probation officers back me up all the way. I frequently have more actual learners in my group than my daughters who teach graduate school have in theirs. Certainly more than in the general population. Keep at it, we've way too many uneducated people running around with college degrees -- I did a lot of homeschooling with my kids because of the huge disparity between schooling and education.
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      Mar 19 2013: I did lots of homeschooling as well, which has the plus of making education/learning more connected and immersive for kids. And I have found that it leads into learning as a way of life.
  • Mar 18 2013: I also think teachers should be more like moderators. They should layout an assignment and ask for 2 volunteers to teach the subject the following day, with both sudents finding any pros and cons from their perspective, and the class gets to add its questions and such, after the two that are elected to give their thoughts.

    Afterwards, the teacher, moderator can add what they think.
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      Mar 21 2013: I have over the last decade seen secondary education moving in this direction in the sense of the teacher's being principally the facilitator of interactive learning.
      • Mar 21 2013: Fritzie, it's about time, now, if they would just start teaching children to think for themselves, instead of how to be copy and paste individuals that only have cubicle smarts, we might find a world changing for the better, or so I like to think.

        I hope this day brings good things to you Fritzie.

        Jim
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          Mar 21 2013: Thanks, Jim. You are new here, so you don't know I have been a ferociously commited teacher for some years. It is indeed all about getting kids to learn to think about, question, and evaluate information for themselves rather than to accept things from on high or just because the speaker is aggressive. This is why I left university for a spell to work in the secondary classroom. It is a pleasure to see what some of my former students are doing in the way of pushing frontiers.

          (My day must bring good things, as my eldest is home and doing schoolwork right under my nose as the bulldog snores on her feet).
      • Mar 21 2013: Fritzie, I'm just now hearing about teachers doing things differently. It seemed that the gov set the parameters and teachers just followed. So are teachers getting more freedoms or are they just taking more liberties in what and how they teach?

        I'm 60 and all my teachers taught the same way, cut and paste and that was it.
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          Mar 21 2013: I think teachers are getting fewer freedoms now, but best practices in teaching are widely circulated, with this paired idea of teacher-as-facilitator and inquiry based learning as one dominant finding, an approach now very often embraced by even the least innovative of school districts. If you are looking this up (I always love it when people are inclined to study up on things that interest them), look up "constructivism."

          Schools are very different from what they were when you and I were in school. (I am a little younger than you are).
      • Mar 21 2013: Fritzie, when teachers teach children to think for themselves, the world will undergo massive,intelligent changes.
  • Mar 18 2013: Addendum to my post below. When we lie, the brain is stunted. When we take an agenda that is one sided, the brain is stunted, IE: democrat vs republican. Science vs religion. One religion vs another religion.

    Intent is the magic or mischief in all language.
  • Mar 18 2013: Learning includes three areas. In simple language we may say, the areas are: knowledge (cognitive), skills, and developing good attitudes or empathy for the sufferings of people. When you say college students, they are adults and there is a need for applying andragogy principles for teaching. Further learning atmosphere, facilities for extra curricular activities both at college & out side should available. Proper guidance, counselling, mentoring is necessary. We can not put all blames on one group or class of our population. This topic is not for just debate. Everyone has a responsibility. It is constant job to be done.
  • Mar 18 2013: a very pertinent question. thanks for asking such a question because i got a lot of insight from the answers i read so far. i would like to know what your own thoughts are, by the way.
  • Mar 18 2013: see California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), a school that does it right. Learning must take into account the whole of a person, their experiences and unfoldment on all levels, especially spiritual. Authentic learning must relate back to personal experiences, honor differing global perspectives, while doing its best to create a safe space where personal transformation can take place. This is a dramatic shift from traditional academia which discounts and denies the individual as an integral part of the learning process, one which focuses on correct answers embedded in western ethnocentrism. This system has produced good workers. By shifting our notions of true learning, we can begin to unveil extraordinary people.
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    Mar 18 2013: I have had 4 different profs share, that they have trouble holding the attention of their students. I am not surprised, since they pick up on as much as I do , and with their youthful, as in fresh, alert and catch it all, well as still having the memory to remember. or ere braindamage takes it toll from air pollution, no longer fit, for human consumption. nice cars can change their air filter. hell ere ya know it they'll be growing us new lungs in the lab.
    Students live in the digital age. last year I so celebrated their LeapFrog over all who got stuck in their ways and celebrationg the MEANING of life, no less. Will also say, that all the young folk I know, are briliant and bright , would be bored by the prof's second lecture on teh subject, give a better one their selves. and be shot down for it, because you best keep your theSis to yourself until we have fill your head with rehash. This has caused an enormouse back up at the BeAVERage Dam. . . trip put over youth? nastly as my live under the flight path of loaded bombers who could hardly lift their selves over the roof top , so heavy , think, I'll start my own conversation . . holland ww2, as a 4 year old subjected to the platoons of 180 , blanketing the land. . any body wish talk post traumatic stress? powerlawnmowers are a night mare. they sound just like the bombers did. . . soon it will be lawn cutting days. so, with all the pasion I can muster. from Alice Waters' 60 minute talk on growing gardens, followed by one of MaMa Michelle, planting one at the white house and now Ron Finley, for the first time I see myself have a hero. I hope you all walk out of class, pick up a shovel and be a pioneer, turn the sod and plant a garden. We have a symbiotic relationship with the plants, they breath in our exhaust and we theirs. we tire and are uplifted, by a breath of air, we are as ill as the distance we live from where our food comes from. HealThy World. Plant a Garden I walked out of school once in grade six
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    Mar 18 2013: when I had the opportunity to go to university at 33. I could not find any courses to cover the broad range of our interests. and hit the books on my own. Trouble with university is that they are rehashing the already known, instead of a playce to gather ideas and become a literal hothouse for manifesting fresh ideas and figure out how they can be used. we do not need formal education at all. it takes the brilliants of the kindergarteners. . . Sir Ken Robinson speaks of. . 85 % of Kindergarteners, test at the genius level down to 15 % at graduate from highschool time. Now there is a natural focus and with it, limiting field of knowledge. .so well spoke of in Patricia Kuhl's the linguistic skills of babyes.
    So to me. . it not about what we can teach kids, it about how can we blow their minds with the magic of creation, ours to experience, explore for life and in turn, prep the earth, for the arrival of our young.
    Recently I've been hearing we are all born a 'genius' also heard it asked as to what a genius is. ? it is some one whose sense of self has not been ordered around, not intimidated, was consciously conceived in happy cercumstances, born naturally, nursed, carried and cradles in the arms of its mum for the first 9 months. Not a critter or creature on earth has abandoned its young, the way humanity has. Good in a way, for we are no longer automatically producing carbon copies of ourselves. ALL of life ought be a clearing the way for youth. to never sully them with the shadows of our past. schooling? a smorgasbord of opportunity . . . letting each find their niece. . we no longer have to learn to read and write. we take to the comp in a flash. . it the age we live in now. . . . a hush has fall, this no longer about getting a degree. and if I had my wish? every one north of the equator would be taking time out for planting gardens. . that, where our healThy world mission takes flight. Thank you Ron Finley. and yes, Rupet Sheldrake . . you two are the best. ! !
  • Mar 17 2013: Perhaps you are asking the wrong question.. Perhaps the question should be: Considering that degrees do equate to jobs (or at least the absence of a degree limits your career options), Is it not better to allow students to pursue areas of learning (inside and outside their chosen degree subject areas) both during and after the completion of their course? My thought is that learning will (very likely) abruptly end with its associated degree, as the conclusion of a course means the end of their term at the university. If the resources for learning were kept freely available for all enrolled students, irrespective of their enrolment status, then maybe the students would invest their time and effort into learning beyond the duration of their degree. Allowing past students to return (or to essentially never leave) could bring any number of benefits to all areas of the university, as they return with new insight and real world experience.
    • Mar 17 2013: Do you think that people would come back to learn after getting the degree (and job based on your example) that they went to school to attain? I agree with the beginning of your point, but I would find it hard to believe that students (especially type of students that prompted this question) would come back for learning whether it was free or not.
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    Mar 17 2013: My best ever learning experience was the process used for an MSc in 'Change'
    It started by asking you to simply write your understanding of the topic to share with the group
    The the professors explained that there was no syllabus - our role as students was to explore to topics that we thought were most important to leant about to master the topic - 6 others in the cohort did the same.
    This resulted in a a rich canvas of things to learn and observe others learn - my first experience of self directed learning was brilliant - everything was relevant and increasingly what others thought important to them became interesting and useful. We not only learned as individuals but as a group.
  • Mar 17 2013: People go to college to get a job, have a career, make more money and unfortunately learning is lost on the priority list. In some cases, outside influences change a students path in academia because "life" can happen. Unexpected occurrences shape a young adults (average age of college student) life objectives. Most are fragile and not prepared for the level of commitment or amount of freedom in college. The unfortunate hype of having a 'wild college experience' becomes a culture or lifestyle and studious behaviors become more or less untransformed. All the energy put into wild, careless college shenanigans is eventually transforming the students motivation or ability to learn. On the other hand, methods of partying have been greatly explored and reported! Too bad students cant find the same excitement in dissecting a shark to winning beer pong. I know there are people who could do both. I am one of them, I loved to learn and study, get good grades and party on the weekends. I always had high standards and thought if I go to college, get a degree, I will have a career. Well that security that was fed in my adolescence is missing one important reality check. What if everyone started getting their degree, could industry provide equivalent jobs for these 'educated' folks. I say 'educated' folks because well it happened...every hillbilly and their momma got a degree. Your monthly cleaning lady has a degree in sustainable manufactured material! its ludicrous! What happened to the level of respect a person received from a four year degree?The question is what is their motive to attend class and why is it prioritized before learning.
    The solution is knowing that learning is the key to success not the piece of paper after 4 plus years of class, lectures, presentations, exams, etc. It truly doesn't guarantee success, so faculty+ motivate and relate the material to real world, tangible items/projects/ideas, social events and please for god's sake, realistic life skills!
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    Mar 17 2013: See it.I believe that the world is the whole, i think and confirm many students in china university come to school to get their degree. this situation do not change in relatively short time.the society environment determine this phenomenon. Maybe the people trend to realism and the society pursue the profit. the degree is symbol of the status. the degree is exaggerated by us. So........
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    Mar 16 2013: Just to prove my point, people like me- Anthropology Majors, are told by Forbes and Money magazine that we have the number 1 WORST major. We are failures before we even get out the door. But we stay, why, because we want to learn. We have chronic anxiety from the creditors pounding down our doors, but we still want to learn. How come no one asks questions about us?
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    Mar 16 2013: Don't make debt compulsory, but at the same time, allow us to have or express 'credit' for what we do learn. For instance, you can learn for free online all you want- but the 'real world' will still stigmatize you as a failed, minimum wage earner that never got a degree because you have NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. Or you can go for the piece of paper and half a million in debt. Your choice. I have a passion to learn, but to get out there and do the things I'm passionate about I need 1) luck and a PhD or 2) luck and money.
  • Mar 16 2013: Here is some perspectives from a college student:

    1) Try to get to a course at least one project where you must apply your knowledge from that course to real life; for example students studying a finance course could possibly all do a suggestion how to finance some new or small company near by and make it thrive even more. Different groups would make suggestions and the best group whose suggestion is chosen would get some nice reward even (money reward from company?)?

    2) Make lectures interesting

    3) More practical , less theory. Or at least if you must teach theory try to keep it to a minimum and then move to practise



    4) The best of these suggestions and the way it will be in future ( but hardest to excecute) is making studying more game like. There has been already talks about this subject on TED talk ( did not find link tough). There are basically 2 ways to this ( and yes this motivates even college students not just younger people). First: so called point system: you get points from attending lectures, doing homework, from your grades etc.(this should of course be some kind of application not just marks on professors book). Second: actually making GAMES on course subjects. It can be fairly simple like your character could be a young businessman and you must solve differents kinds of calculations to advance in a company and finally you would be the CEO and you would have a big company.
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    Mar 16 2013: We can engage college students in the idea of learning by setting a syllabus that is more practical than theory, because theory could be really boring for many students and the idea is better understood after practical.
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      Mar 17 2013: But some student who go to school have only one purpose that get degree.By setting a syllabus do not change her mind .this is just my attitude.iam a university student .
  • Mar 16 2013: Love what you teach and your enthusiasm will be contagious. Push them to understand with your questions. Give them specific, encouraging feedback that shows them what they're doing right and how they can do even better. Make the subject matter relevant, timely and intriguing. What is the core knowledge and/or skill set that you want your students to have when they leave your class? What do you want them to remember 2 weeks after the class ends? Five years later? As much as possible, allow students the autonomy to learn what they want to, foster a sense of relatedness in the classroom, and have high standards of performance. Read about achievement goal theory in educational literature and how teachers can foster a mastery orientation in their students. Good luck to you. Your goal is one I share as an instructor.
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    Mar 16 2013: I think this is funny. Who doesn't want to learn. Some people see life as nothing is seems. But that's how people are. Sad to say, but it's the truth. When you really put your all into things like learning, you find that it creates much happiness in your life. Not doing for mainly the purpose of selfish reasons you enjoy it. But maybe those people are just enterprising types. We need those right.
  • Mar 14 2013: From my own experience, pass on to them what was learned from my alma mater - it is only through "that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth will be found" (http://www.secfac.wisc.edu/siftandwinnow.htm). I wouldn't claim that graduates from my university I attended necessarily take this to heart but one needs to try to sow the seeds of curiosity and quest for knowledge and wisdom. Like agriculture, one would not expect 100% success in harvesting but if only a good proportion picked up on it and apply what is learned, perhaps it is still worth it. Education to me should be a life long experience as well as a path to earning a decent living.

    By the way, I take it that you are probably working/teaching at UNT. How is it in your view? I am looking for colleges for one of my children to attend. Would you recommend it?
  • Mar 14 2013: It seems from a young age, students are not always encouraged to learn about things they're passionate about. Sure, some schools greatly encourage exploration of curiosity through demonstrations and interesting presentations for their young pupils, but many schools (and I can speak from personal experience) more than often just want to make sure their students to learn what they need to by the time they need to in order not to fall behind; we're learning to retain the information well enough to spit it back to standardized tests. This mindset follows us, and we don't find these things we're being forced to learn interesting because we're not recognizing that the subjects we study are broader than the basics we must be able to explain on tests. There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way we, as educators and older individuals, encourage learning and teach students. I find my best classes have not been the classes I did the best on or the classes which I easily passed tests, but the classes in which teachers provided me with real life applications and situations, theories, and knowledge that I found intriguing. Those classes weren't centered around learning material for a test rather than just teachers sharing their passion for a subject and how that subject relates to our everyday lives. Similarly, these classes are the ones which have shaped my drive to improve in math and sciences as well as my interest in the major I am now pursuing at college. If we can more encourage this method of education, I think students (of all ages) will be more engaged in learning, leading them to pursue a degree in which they'll care genuinely about the subjects which they are studying.
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    Mar 14 2013: Get rid of Degrees?
  • Mar 13 2013: I think that most of the student want to learn, but the difficulties presented by the industry (not easy finding a good job) and universities (tests to get in, tests while learning, everyday is a test) makes us to set aside the desire to learn.
  • Mar 13 2013: Rise above the rigmarole of studying for a degree. In the ideal degree course, creativity and ingenuity would be encouraged and recognised as progress in that course.

    Though I do agree with Aaron, as the British equivalent of a 'grade student', I can say we are taught to the test in a lot of subject. The marks matter, not the learning. A lot of this comes down to good teachers, but I generally think the idea of theory and book learning in a classroom is slowly becoming irrelevant. It should be exciting, new and on the cutting edge of technology to educate and inspire students.
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    Mar 13 2013: point out that you can't separate money and learning, that the smartest people in the world are also the richest.
    • Mar 13 2013: And what if you become rich as a result of putting your intelligence to good use?
    • Mar 13 2013: The richest people in the world are probably the most passionate about their work. However, to make a good living (which is probably what these students are looking for), all you need is the ability to do a job other people would rather not learn how to do (eg medicine).

      The best people at their job are the most passionate and by that fact probably learned the most, but you can get by without being passionate. Unfortunately, I think that's what drives many people to choose majors they don't care for--the money.
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    Mar 13 2013: i agree with your idea.
    i am a student of a 4 year course currently, n to b true, students do join courses for degrees. there is a misconception that getting a degree would get you a job.
    but thats not true... a person who knows some skill without degree can do much better in life...
    secondly, students need to b more creative....as creativity has no end, students should be encouraged to see what r the problems faced daily, n how they can solve it..
    lastly, education has become a business....if a particular rejects a students application, there are small colleges that welcome that student.....but this gives the student the degree...the enthusiasm to learning is lost..!
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    Mar 13 2013: This isn't just college. Kids in grade school binge information in time to make an A on their test, only to spill it all out later before they get back on Youtube. Learning doesn't matter to them, just that A, 100, 4.0, and 2400.
    • Mar 13 2013: I get that...how do we fix it though?
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        Mar 13 2013: well, everyone's talking about taking a paradigm shift in education, creating a completely new system. A system that nurtures the creative mind, where the pressures of grades don't take such large of a toll, where we are sending the smartest teachers into schools, not these "babysitters". Look at finland's education system, we could definitely model off of that.( http://9gag.com/gag/6698591 ) These ideas have been around for the past 10 or so years. The american government is just ridiculously static and takes an extremely long time to change something this drastic. We know how to change it, it's just a matter of doing it.
        • Mar 13 2013: I more so meant what can we realistically do now as opposed to drastic, long term changes like you mentioned (although those changes would be amazing).
      • Mar 13 2013: I think people are bound to expunge knowledge that they're just not interested in, and there's no helping that. However, if we get students to study what they enjoy, they're gonna be interested in learning and retain the information. The only fix to this is to offer a wider variety of classes. I don't think high school students should be required to take up to Calc or even Trig (and this is coming from a lover of math). If it's a topic they're not interested in, what good will it do them? In the same line, I think more classes with a career parallel should be offered so students can decide what they want to learn before heading to college.
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    Mar 12 2013: I'll give this question a try because I'm a student that falls into that category.
    I was accepted into a university and I don't care for it. It's not that I hate learning, in fact I love learning, but it seems like the university only gets in the way of what I desire to become. Last semester I paid over $3,000 for 2 classes that didn't help me at all. I'm sure it will help me get a degree. Aside from that, this is not serving a purpose. The material being presented in both classes was either stuff I already knew or viewed by most of the class as completely useless. The whole idea that students my age go to college in the first place is only based on becoming a success and fear of failing in life. Evidently students will gladly pay too high of a price for that. The process of learning and gaining knowledge is excluded from the sales pitch.

    When you walk around the campus all you see is signs and posters that say things along the lines of "This is where success lives." To me it's like pro-college propaganda. Students now are more interested in being a successful and make an above average paycheck rather than gaining quality knowledge for what they enjoy doing. I applied for classes assuming that I would gain the knowledge to help my future. Right now I'm cursing and kicking myself for not choosing my options wisely. I could have used that $3,000 for a trip to Japan. I would have learned a lot more doing that than sitting in a classroom learning little to nothing.

    The only reason I liked going to the university is because I met a computer science professor that I enjoy talking with between classes. We talk for hours about theories and philosophies. I actually learned more from him than my actual classes. He teaches students on a personal level. My professors only taught for the masses and we were in and out of there like a fast food burger joint. I think that students need to stop accepting the effortless scantron tests and have personal talks with their instructors.
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      Mar 12 2013: Do you have a reasonable advisor who can help you make course selections that make more sense for someone with your background and interests?

      Could you take some courses at UCLA and transfer the credits, or could you even apply for transfer to UCLA?

      Different colleges vary greatly in the intellectual vitality of the faculty and student body.
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        Mar 12 2013: I have talked with an adviser. They can only take your interests and show you the options and paths you have to take to achieve a degree based off what the school offers. I don't think they are the reason for the school having a slightly faulty presentation for the curriculum. Don't get me wrong they are greatly helpful but what if the student doesn't have the motivation to learn?

        My major is media based so that's why I was recommended to go to CSUN (yes, I know, that's where all the UCLA rejects go). I do have experience in the career I want to go in already. So taking a class about something I work with was pretty silly, but then again I really am in it for the degree. It was interesting to already know what material was useful, what wasn't, and seeing the class react (or not react).

        The motivation to learn seems to be a question that affects all schools now and not just one in particular. You are right that colleges do vary greatly. I would really enjoy visiting UCLA on my free time.
    • Mar 12 2013: First and foremost, I thank you for your honesty Cody! although you may not realize it, you are not the type of student i am encountering. I 100% understand (and experience first hand in both undergrad and my masters work) what you are talking about as far as classes that feel pointless. most of these in my experience were my undergrad core classes where the teachers just seemed to be using the packet of what had been done last year to teach this year. what you are talking about in regards to connecting to your professor is exactly what i wish more student sought out. the whole topic of money paid for classes taken is big enough for its own question (and has likely been asked before), but what you are talking about is what i want to instill in more of the students I interact with. I am lucky enough to get to work with a lot of students in my department that get it, but it is the new students I want to help more. True, it could be that they will get there eventually, but I am trying to find more ways to help them see the merits of it (learning, regardless of whether it is in the classroom or from personal connection with faculty/staff) before they leave and look back on their college experience as a complete waste.
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        Mar 12 2013: I see what you are asking now. It might be a problem among students as well.
        The most memorable classes I took are the ones where the professor took the time to get to know the students. Where the instructor was just as curious about the students' understanding as much as the student was curious about the class or why they should even be sitting there. I talk and make friends with a lot of people that are much older than I am. I've been told that the best way to learn and teach is to be on equal grounds with each other. I find that to be true.

        Another reason I talk with elders is because a lot of students my age tend to not be as sociable outside of technology. It's challenging as a student to also connect and discuss ideas with other students. I'm probably guilty of this too by not speaking up when opportunities present themselves. I don't know what it is about students now (technology/lack of social skills/not caring) but you are asking a good question.

        Once I had an instructor who went around the class asking each student what they were interested in. The question was "If I were to give you a laptop showing Google. What would you look up to learn more about?" I thought it was a good way to strike a conversation with a student's interests and being able to relate it to the discussions. Unfortunately, some people of the class were even clueless about the topics that they were interested in.

        Then I had another instructor who gave us a list of personal questions to fill out at the beginning of the semester and it wasn't used or mentioned again. It was pointless.

        If I were a teacher, I would probably start by slipping in a few life tips in every now and then relating to the subject. Things that college students would enjoy hearing people say and find useful. Maybe brush over a little more networking tips so they can have a chance to ask and speak up rather than stay silent.

        I hope this is helping your question in some way. I'm curious about this topic as well.
        • Mar 12 2013: This is helping tremendously...thanks for sharing Cody :)
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      Mar 12 2013: I think in college it is often the distracting possibilities of the laptop they are taking notes on rather than the phone!
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    Mar 12 2013: I think that certainly once kids are in secondary school, the message they should be hearing is that they will be able to construct for themselves the most interesting possible future if they engage in learning and understanding important ideas and how to apply them. It is not what you have that will be pivotal but what you understand and are able to do and your ability and disposition to keep learning effectively on your own so that you can understand new ideas and tackle new problems..

    Instruction should then focus on the big and most important ideas, with students having options within the curriculum to explore ideas and the projects of their own interest.

    Decades ago, people called this making education 'relevant." Best practice is connecting learning to things that interest students and that they find compelling.

    On a more mundane level, which may apply to your college or not, depending on where you teach, the kids should not be burned out. Too much mandatory stuff leaves too little time for "problem finding." The disposition and habit of finding problems to work on in a self-directed way is a vital thing to cultivate, as education is about creating the active lifelong learner.

    Obvious, as others have written, be interesting and compelling, treat students with respect, and engage personally with students rathering than seeming like you are a different species..
    I have taught secondary as well as undergraduates and graduate students and have found these strategies highly successful. Do try them!

    What do you teach?
    • Mar 12 2013: I am actually not an instructor, I work for the Department of Housing on my campus. I already feel that some of the stuff I get to do in my job gets to help students by providing that "out of class learning" that is pivotal to college/life success (at least in my opinion), but I still run up against some students who see class as their "job" that they just need to do to finish up. As I am not in control of their individual classroom experiences, I cannot alter that, but I try to out of the classroom. Trying to show them the beauty and fun of learning is a big goal of mine, but it gets difficult at times when they buy into it with me outside of class but then go back to their "job" and shut themselves off to it in the classroom.
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        Mar 12 2013: You can try many of the same strategies. You might ask about the coolest things they are learning about and ask intriguing questions about whatever they share. The same strategy works for parents who want to help their kids make the most of their educations.

        One of the real impediments to students' learning is people who just repeat the old trope that schools and learning are worthless. Just because some people haven't known how to make the most of their opportunities doesn't mean they can't! So much is about attitude, curiosity, and resourcefulness.

        You are doing a great thing!
        • Mar 12 2013: "One of the real impediments to students' learning is people who just repeat the old trope that schools and learning are worthless." That...I get that a lot. I honestly see it as a big part of my life's work to shift that perspective. I appreciate the insight and encouragement Fritzie!
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        Mar 12 2013: My heart is so much in this- my energy and research too, and it is gratifying to know that people like you who are not in the classroom are just as committed.

        While parents' attitudes about the value of schooling and the quality of parents' educations as well are key factors, according to research, in kids attitudes and attainment in education, other adults can surely make a difference.

        A separate little example of which I became aware through research when I taught secondary math was that so many kids form judgments about math and learning math based on the "baggage" their parents have with the respect to the subject. The same may well be true of attitudes toward schooling in general- that those carrying a lot of "baggage" in this area and who disseminate that 'baggage" reduce kids' potential to learn much more effectively from their own experiences.

        Thanks for all you do.
        • Mar 12 2013: i never thought about it that way. one of the things i teach my staff about is my favorite student development theory (by dr. baxter-magolda) that talks about self authorship. in case you are unfamiliar, in an nutshell, it talks about how people (especially those away from home for the first time) believe what they believe based on their surroundings and upbringing. being away from home is a powerful transitional phase that allows them to think on their own. i have framed that in my mind related to a lot of stuff (politics, religion, identity development, etc.), but never to views of school and learning. you have given me a lot to think about...i greatly appreciate it!
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    Gail .

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    Mar 12 2013: (Continued) Spend time learning the difference between high IQ and high EQ - which again affects quality of life.

    As their final exam, ask them to put the pieces together to solve America's problems (ignoring whether or not it is politically feasible). This might wake them up as it introduces them to their own power.

    There are so many exciting things to learn, IF education suddenly decides to stand for learning rather than stand for selling pieces of paper that certify knowledge in specific areas of study, leaving even PhDs functionally uneducated.
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    Gail .

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    Mar 12 2013: My idea is to fix public education that teaches kids that this is why they go to school. After all, the mission statement of the U. S. Dept. of Education says that it exists to prepare students for global competition. That means that it exists for the sole purpose of preparing students to get a good paying job. It doesn't exist to educate so that students learn the joy of learning, or so that they are prepared to run a country of, by, & for the people, or so that they can learn critical thinking skills that will give them a better life. The list of what it does not stand for is as huge as the one thing that it does stand for is small.

    Public schools teach students how to be obedient little slaves. For 12-13 years, these students are talked down to (belittled), forced to learn how to shut off their minds as they memorize factoids that they might need in another decade or two depending on what career choice they make. It's nothing short of abuse, and what you see is what students are taught.

    So I see the solution as being two-pronged. One is to fix public education. The other is to have a mandatory LIFE 101 course to show students how they have been indoctrinated/brainwashed into being good little sheeple who do not know how to think or solve problems. How to do this?

    One is for the prof. to treat students as equals (lift their self esteem). If you are Mr. Frier, then they are Mr. X or Ms. Y. Then, step by step show them the lies in American history that they were taught, the result of which is that our political system is broken. Show them how our economy really works; how and why it is unsustainable AND how it is related to our broken political systm. Show them evidence for what really motivates people (= quality of life). Show them the amazing things happening in quantum physics (non-math part) so they can begin to tear down untested assumptions,then have them review their belief systems looking for conflicting, false, and untested ones.

    Then -
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    Mar 12 2013: What do you mean by "engage... in the idea"?
    • Mar 12 2013: Sorry for my poor wording...how can we make them connect/buy into learning over just getting a degree. I get that both can happen together, but I hear some just interested in the latter.
  • Mar 12 2013: I agree...there is no conflict between learning and getting a degree. My question stems from students telling me they don't need to learn anything in college and they just need to graduate. While I realize that is true in order to get a degree, I guess I just see how much the process of learning can benefit them (and their communities) after they graduate.
  • Mar 12 2013: Is that good or bad really? I think it's a shame, but some people just are not interested or do not want to be scholars. Whether they are wasting time or not, I would not care to speculate. You Don't Understand Me by Keirsey seems to explain Myers-Briggs fairly well. The second volume is especially detailed. William T. Brooks associates the way people are with their jobs even more. It's like Popeye said "I am what's I am." There are real problems in the World. Someone wasting their time in college is not your or my problem. All the best Godspeed. Read these books, and you'll better understand people. Okay that's projection - they helped me to better understand.
  • Mar 12 2013: There isn't conflict between learning and getting a degree.It can be very good motivation to focus on learning to get a degree.As long as they don't cheat to get a good score at examination,as long as the examination can be more flexible to test people's abilities.As long as people want to learn,it doesn't matter for a degree or for earning more money,I think let learning in an action.that's great enough.