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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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  • 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..

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