Fountain Abani

President, Student Representative Council of UOWD, University of Wollongong in Dubai

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Universities that pride themselves on developing future global leaders are actually failing in this regard. Do you agree or disagree?

It seems like the curriculum that various higher colleges of learning are using to prepare future leaders lack the relevant framework and competences to develop global leaders in the face of globalization.

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    Apr 24 2013: I believe that really it comes down to teaching students how to be confident and take initiative. This learning should be taking place before they enter into college. I have seen that many students are just going through the system and not taking advantage of the opportunities provided to them at the university. At the same time I have found that faculty have not been pushing students or connecting them with resources that could drive them to the next level. Everyone has a passion, they need your help to find it. They will take the lead with your support and their own passion.
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      Apr 24 2013: I completely agree with you Kamren. You have the voice of truth and we need to give these students a sense of pride and empower them to take initiatives and start running with what they have.
      • Apr 25 2013: But if the educational design is not changed what they will be running with is a skill at short term memorization, not application. The knowledge does no good if it cannot be taught properly. I recently Graduated high school and have quickly become infuriated with how much was kept from me as far as knowledge but more over how ineffective the system was at actually preparing me for anything more than sitting for eight hours and following a bell when rang, which is down right atrocious and destroys any sense of individuality. The system is severely broken and needs to be fixed, and quite frankly I am very angry with the lack of conviction and haste in doing so. I am sick of watching idly as those currently in charge of the system of education become increasingly and disgustingly detached from the new generation and the brilliant aspects that we as a whole bring to the table. The new generation of people entering this broken system have the potential to soar to new heights simply because we grew up in the very start of the information boom of the 21st Century, we know how and where to find all of the information we could ever want to know, its at our finger tips in the form of smart phones and tablets, yet the current system does not recognize the sheer potential that technology has, but more over no one knows the right questions to ask because of the Gap between the current administrations and the new generations
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        Apr 25 2013: I agree so strongly with you, both Kamren and Fountain, that students need to develop a disposition of taking advantage of the opportunities that are offered to them. In particular they need to learn to engage meaningfully with their experiences rather than adopting an essentially passive demeanor and waiting for things to happen. Too many students do not understand this highly active component of learning.
  • Apr 24 2013: Just ask yourself, did school teach you to think for yourself and if so, do tell us how they did it and what they did, because so far, not one person in the world can do so. Schools teach cubicle smarts, they can't and don't teach critical thinking, problem solving or how to think in general, even though they profess to do so. Lying seems to be their best lesson and they have many believers, but almost none that can prove such.

    Just ask those that profess such to name one thing they have offered to the world, that no one else ever has.
    • Apr 24 2013: You can somewhat teach critical thinking skills by teaching logic. If people are taught logical fallacies and how to construct logical arguments then they will be better equipped to to identify faulty logic outside the classroom. One of the colleges I attended had an entire course dedicated to this subject as part of the general ed curriculum. Another part of teaching people how to think critically is teaching attention to detail, which can be taught in a variety of ways. The military does so quite well. I took a class at a votech when I was in high school. I was most definitely taught how to troubleshoot electronic circuits, which helped teach me how to solve problems. These things can be taught, even if you don't know how. Just because it doesn't happen everywhere doesn't mean its not possible.
      • Apr 24 2013: Thanks Brian, but the super majority that speak online don't seem to understand even logic and many claim to be college educated.

        There's only one way I know to see if what you were taught is true. I have a question for you, do you care to answer?
        I find that many people that make claims don't like challenges to their intelligence. You will know that saying something and proving it can be two different things, not that you would do that.

        I claim to be a critical thinker and problem solver. I love tests. If you wish to challenge me, I look forward to it.

        My question follows
        6 hours ago: Science as a whole claims that gravitational lensing is a reality. I know it to be bogus. Can you understand why? Just a cursory small read should easily tell all. I wonder how people can be so gullible, until I remember that schools only teach copy and paste.

        http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/features/news/grav_lens.html
        • Apr 25 2013: You're gonna have to work harder to bait me than that. I'm not a physicist so I'll leave that discussion for them. I never made any claims about myself, I'm just a guy trying to get through this crap sandwich called life, just like everyone else. But you CAN teach people to think critically. I do it with my daughter all the time. My point still stands, just because something may be uncommon or rare, that does not make it impossible.

          Speaking of critical thinking, that would be a logical fallacy. Small sample (it's even got a name! lol). Because you weren't taught critical thinking in school and aren't aware of any such occurances, you assume that your sampling of the education system is representative of the whole and are therefore concluding that it does not happen.

          Math is taught at schools, yet I'm quite sure if you toss Algebra questions at a random sample of high school grads a large number of them would get them wrong. Much in the same way that many adults who may have been taught how to think critically are not applying those lessons in real life. If you don't practice it, you'll forget.

          Also, thinking critically and high intelligence are two separate, though related, attributes.
      • Apr 25 2013: Brian, a camera can transport an image, after a picture is taken, but light alone cannot carry an image, unless you or science can prove such.
      • Apr 25 2013: Science like lawyers, have been hyped by the media to almost infalable in the public eye, when both are a sham, wanting to control our thoughts, actions and lives. They have both been corrupted to the core.

        If one small country were to throw off that yoke and their children taught how to think critically, that country would surpass all others in intelligence within 2 generations.
      • Apr 25 2013: I have the answer before you wrote this next post. I didn't say it was impossible, so why do you put words in my mouth? Anyone with a 6th grade education should know that light alone cannot carry an image, but, by your words and all of sciences acquiescence to such, it seems not.

        I assume nothing and I question everything. I've been reading and writing about science and many other things on boards just like this one since I got my first computer in 1996, with windows 95 on it. I have had to research most that I chose to speak too. The majority that challenge me claim to be college educated.
        • Apr 25 2013: "Schools teach cubicle smarts, they can't and don't teach critical thinking, problem solving or how to think in general"

          "I didn't say it was impossible"

          You must have a different definition of the word can't than I do.
      • Apr 27 2013: Show us your a critical thinker by answering the following Brian, as you claim to be taught logic in college and therefore you claim to be a critical thinker.
        Anyone that reads the light test done from the earth to the moon and back and that is a critical thinker, as you claim to be, will be able to show why those claims by science are wrong, what is it?

        Bait you? it was a very simple question, for a person that claims to be a critical thinker.
      • Apr 27 2013: I made up the phrase,--"cubicle smarts", see, your copy and paste schooling serves you well.
      • Apr 27 2013: Did you know that pride is a blight on the mind. It keeps people from not only asking the right questions,--very necessary for the critical thinker, but it stops questioning at all, for fear that the one being questioned may bring even more new thinking, making the prideful feel even more ignorant, instead of seeing questioning as the fastest way to learn.

        No wonder schools don't teach simple psychology from first grade, nor critical thinking skills, we can't have children challenging the teachers now can we.

        Teachers should be moderators!!!!
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    Apr 22 2013: When universities say they are developing future global leaders, I suspect they don't mean what you may be thinking they mean. They don't mean they are providing their students with a complete toolkit and fool-proof recipes so that their graduates are ready to go and make all the right decisions in leading nations.

    Rather, they mean they are offering a curriculum that develops critical thinking skills, global awareness, communication skills, and other forms of literacy so that those who apply themselves diligently to the opportunities at the school will have a solid background for learning further through on-the-job experience and further study. There is not an airtight rule book they could convey that short-cuts experience.

    It is difficult beyond this to generalize about universities, as what they offer, and what they require from students, are entirely different from one school to the next.

    When universities say they are developing future global leaders, I think it is a grand way of saying that their graduates will be ready to try to make a difference in some sphere, that they will have the ability to draw their own conclusions about things, and so forth.
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        Apr 24 2013: I would say that statements or claims of this kind can be interpreted in different ways. Sometimes we have had threads here asking "What is leadership?" and you can see from them that the concept carries a range of meanings.
  • Apr 27 2013: I am only a freshman in university at the moment, but I feel as this issue is a very pressing, and relevant matter. The university system, especially the liberal arts universities, were designed to throw many ideas at a student, and see which stuck; which idea grabbed them and motivated them. However, with the economy the way it is for young college graduates, it seems to me that more and more institutions at the high school level are trying to steer students away from things they are interested in, and more towards "practical" alternatives, so by the time they reach university, they put themselves on a path that they may have no interest in.

    Perhaps one of the reasons parents and educators steer children away from writing, theatre, and dance is because society sees the arts as extracurricular activities. In a working society, going to see a movie, or a musical, or buying a book for pleasure, is seen as excess. Something that is fun once and a while, but not necessary to your job or success. Maybe that's why parents want their children to find jobs with purpose, such as being a doctor, or a lawyer, at least that is my belief.

    As a theatre student who studied Shakespeares contribution to the world in highschool, I find this viewpoint completely wrong. We seem very content to push ideas of creativity out, and replace them with "useful" skills, leaving our passions to be reduced to hobbies and weekend activities. Personally I find that being able to express myself creatively through writing gives me more pleasure than anything I've currently been taught, and also allows me to present my work to my peers who enjoy reading what I've created.

    Perhaps this is all the ramblings of a frustrated teenager on the verge of adulthood. But deep down, I see the current method of education as, not wrong, but unfairly skewed in favor of "practical" over creative.
  • Apr 25 2013: Yes, most assuredly. Why is it that the system that is meant to educate and better people is making them compete for the education and betterment that is claimed to be offered? A student fresh out of high school should not have to compete tooth and nail for a better future by education, since by very virtue without the student, there would be no education in the first place. Universities should be explaining to students why they should choose that particular establishment. Students should be allowed to ask the questions of "Why Is your program the best to choose?" or "Why should I choose your University?". Instead the Universities are set up to make it nearly impossible to express any kind of opinion to that extent, and are designed to destroy that kind of thinking, the kind of thinking we as a race, Humans, need desperately. More Importantly The Universities are a template for how society in 1st world countries is set up. A person is thrown into the society and absolutely drained of all individuality and thought. The issue with education ultimately is the issue that is the most pressing to solve, for it sets the pace and tone of society. If a society with an educational system designed to crush free thought and creativity is allowed to continue on its course of degradation, we can kiss the future good by and say hello to caves and forests once more, for it will be much the same. We are only as good as the system we use to educate ourselves, and the current one denies any room for outside of the box thinking and is solely designed for failure. No two people learn in the same way, and so a system that teaches only but one way, and a highly wasteful and ineffective way at that, will doom the future generations to a level of retardation that will ultimately be the responsibility of those who saw the problems and reused to act. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want the history books of the future to say in colorful pictures that it was our fault.
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      Apr 25 2013: As you made application to universities, are you saying it was hard to learn why a student would choose that particular school? When my two older children applied to college (not that long ago) and when I did, universities put a lot of energy into conveying what they felt was special about that institution and did so both on their websites and on campus for students who visited to inspect them. Many colleges have visit weekends or days in which one can meet with or stay with current students and many make it possible to attend classes.

      Or is your complaint not that universities do not convey this but rather that few universities have the capacity to admit anyone who might like to go there?

      I understand the frequent complaint that high school does not allow outside-the-box thinking and stifles creativity and individuality, but I think this must be highly variable. Even from public schools, I know so many twenty-somethings, including kids of my own, who exercised their individuality and ingenuity well in the course of their schooling through the way they approached the subjects they studied, the topics they picked for projects, and so forth. And most I know went to ordinary public schools.

      Schooling obviously has great room for improvement, but it is also true that you have some control over how you approach the experiences in your life to consider them as resources as you continue to shape who you are.
      • Apr 27 2013: I have found myself faced with two options: either life with knowledge, or life with knowledge and a price tag on the rest of my life. I realize Professors have to survive and facilities maintained, but at the same time why should I attend a University with a price tag which, in a best case, would be a good chunk of the mortgage of my father's house. The same courses available at my local community college is exponentially less expensive. The difference being the name on the piece or pieces of paper. Why? Especially in this economy. I find it morally repugnant. Yet those with a large wallet surpass those working 30 hours a week "Part Time" to pay for community college and such essentials as food and transportation.

        I thoroughly believe that Universities have the capacity to admit large quantities of students, what I am skeptical of is their capacity to see past a bank statement.

        As for high schools, I have attended high school in two totally different states, Orting WA, and Mt Pleasant SC. The experiences were both the same. Haggard and tired teachers, who didn't get paid enough to do all of the things that were required of them, yet they trudged in every morning just like all the students, and they began teaching the curriculum that they themselves often questioned, and the mind numbing monotony was an ever present. I found that there was nothing more than power power points that couldn't show or talk of certain things depending on the state. I found that the idea of a system where you sit 30+ kids in a room for 90 minutes, ring a bell to tell them to go to another room for another sitting of 90 minutes, and so on and so forth almost like zombies. But that must not be correct for zombies cannot exist right? yet the average high school student is almost as mindless as a zombie for 8+ hours a day 5 days a week.

        I was once sent to In School Suspension because I refused to let the teacher confiscate my personal reading book, when I had finished my work.
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          Apr 27 2013: I applaud your choosing a path that works for you and am sorry your high school experience was so dismal.

          My daughters had 55 minute classes rather than 90 minutes. My son has long classes only on the "block" days. You are right that public school teachers are often very over-worked and trying to keep up with all they have to do. Your observation is also correct that teachers dislike and are often demoralized by having to teach off a script. I am grateful I never had to.
  • Apr 27 2013: Children need the chance to speak up and out. People as a whole do not like to have what they say challenged, especially teachers that believe teaching is more of a calling and according to the media, one of sacrifice for children, in so many cases.

    The system pits the pride of the teachers against the children and the system.
    If children are not allowed and encouraged to speak up and out, when will they have the chance? Do you think college professors will allow these young whippersnapper to challenge them and make them look ignorant or unknowing in their domain? How about the workplace, do you think the boss is going to give them voice?

    Children need to have a voice or they lash out in many different ways or they go into their shell and just do as they are told, until they lash out or hurt themselves.

    Children need moderators, not teachers!!!
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      Apr 27 2013: Jim agree with you absolutely. Can you explain the lashing out part it seems interesting?
      • Apr 27 2013: Sure Mr. Abani.
        When the children are not allowed to speak up and out about the lessons we are being forced to learn, e feel as though we are locked in place, with no chance to distinguish ourselves, while all around us, society claims to want people that can and will distinguish themselves.

        In so doing, children, whether they realize it or not, lash out against each other. Some lash out at home and others in class. Those children are fighting against having no voice in school or in their lives. The children that don't, have resigned themselves to subservient lives in general, to be dominated in most cases, by the schoolyard bullies, sexual predators and deviants.
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          Apr 27 2013: Mr Ryan,
          You seem to have a first hand experience of what you speak about. Is there a place where you a detailed study of this idea of yours is documented and available for others to access?
      • Apr 27 2013: Mr. Abani, I have lived the fighting side and fought against the bullies of weaker children. I learned justice from my mother and the truths she was forced to deal with, in an unjust society. She would tell us--her children, even when I'm wrong, I'm right, because life is not fair.

        Psychology is my favorite study, but because I don't have the Sheepskin, society has no place for me. In my line of work, I have become an animal psychologist. I have the most informative labs in the world.

        The teachers pet is one of my peeves, it sets the teachers pet against all the other children and vice versa. How can such ignorance go on everyday, actually hurting children.

        Your interest and questions help me to remember and even come to new thinking Mr.Abani.

        Thank you sir,
        Jim Ryan
  • Apr 22 2013: I agree but we as citizens are the global leaders so we are just as much to blame in this world the u.s. is still the only place where we can vote better leadership cause we are the only free country in the world . the u.n. leadership is not leadership not yet .