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Eugene Frier

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

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


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    Mar 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.

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