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As a college prof...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Jared Purdy, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I’d like to hear more from our Asian, Australian and Kiwi, European, and African members, where the education systems are different than those in the US.

    I visited one of my sons when he was an English language assistant in an elementary school on the tiny Japanese island of Ikina. It was impressive to me that the teachers and students swept the floors, cleaned the restrooms, and disposed of the trash and recyclables at the end of each school day, while the principal tended the landscape plants.

    This son met a Yorkshire girl in Japan, a graduate of the University of Nottingham, teaching English on another little island. They went to England and she went to grad school at London University and he went through the College of Law of England and Wales at its Bloomsbury campus.

    I have gleaned from them and others is that at least in the UK, France and Germany, students are placed on separate tracks at about age 14 or 15 that will steer them either to universities or to technical colleges. Team sports are not the responsibility or focus of tax-supported schools, but are club activities. I’m not sure about art and music. Students not headed to universities are given vocational and technical training, some of which can be rigorous, and which may lead to jobs that pay well.

    In the European system, at least some university instruction consists of optional lectures, with testing and papers at the end of each term. Professors and tutors are available to students for consultation. While university education requires many students to borrow money for living expenses, students don’t routinely end up with massive debts as they do in the US. Team sports at European universities are conducted by clubs, not the universities.

    Does education outside the US suffer the huge waste and ineffectiveness at tremendous expense that we see here?
     
  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    In the US, we can hold John Dewey responsible. I'm not sure his attempt to use public education as a way of establishing and elevating democratic culture worked. I'm sure it worked in some areas, but not in others, or even in the main.
     
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  3. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    It's been far easier for some to lay the blame at the teachers. That blame goes all the way from JK to university. We're an easily targeted scape goat. Blaming "the system" is too complicated for some to grasp.
     
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  4. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    well . . . especially at uni level, & especially the higher you go up the prestige system, the system has always been about preserving the system.

    In 1837 when Hawthorne was trying to call in some favors to get good reviews for his first real book, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow agreed and then asked his college acquaintance "why don't you write for the review?" "The review" meant 'The North American Review,' which was the venue for establishment types to review each other and show how smart and well-connected they were.

    By going to Bowdoin, H was entitled to access to it, just like Longfellow was, but from his graduation in 1825 on, he avoided such things. Hawthorne scholars haven't ever asked why, just like 19th century am lit scholars have ignored how the collapse of Massachusetts' Standing Order shaped the development of modern public ed, which, in turn, shaped the evaluation criteria for what counted as good lit. & that studied ignorance means avoiding how higher education has always (at least, since Adelbaron of Laon formulated the argument the use of learning in medieval culture in the 1100s) been about creating and maintaining patronage networks.

    So? well, that insistence on the authority of 'teaching' figures has produced a demonstrable inability to reckon with the failure of ministerial authority to control culture in New England, in the big picture, and an almost total failure to recognize Hawthorne's key story about how a fashion designer consistently frustrates Puritan authorities and redirects the shape of Massachusetts culture through her fashion design and community activism.
     
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  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What is the educator version of a quack?

    i did have a couple decent profs.

    well, one, at least
     
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  6. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Did I read 5 years ago that US students were ranked #25 internationally in math and science? I wonder if the same students could name 24 countries..
     
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  7. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Congratulations on the way you raised your son. I have taught a senior level course at a good university for the past 8 years, and a disappointingly small number of my students put in the necessary effort to learn the material. The ones who did were a joy to work with. Then there are the ones who seem to expect you to serve them a good grade on a platter so they can get their degree and a good GPA to show to future employers. Somewhere in the middle were those who struggled with the material but did not make the effort to seek my help when it would have made a difference. ADVICE: If you have not given this advice, or are not aware of your son's practice, tell him to make the effort to get to know his professors. Approach them after class, go to their office hours (I have spent countless hours in my empty office), and find reasons to engage with them even if they understand the material. For example, stay abreast of current news and events in the subject area and talk to the professor about them. I enjoyed that interaction, and it put me in a position to actually be able to help students if they needed it, which usually happens further down the line, like when they are looking for a letter of recommendation.
     
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  8. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    I've taught high school in Africa, Swaziland, to be precise. That was in 1989. Those students do not mess around. Similarly, Jamaican students are dedicated, at least the majority are, and even those with far lesser means who live largely a subsistence life, that local folks refer to as "up country", take their eduction very seriously. I know this to be true as my wife was born there, and spent the first twelve years of her life there. We've been going back for thirty years, and always back to the village community where she is from, "up country". The school she attended still stands, and serves a large community of rural folks. They have little, but they make it work. There's a work ethic that seems to be absent in many other places.
     
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  9. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    And it will get worse. Math is on the way out.
     
  10. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Friend of Leo's

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    We really gotta get some eugenics happening up in here, eh? Too many of the wrong people having offspring. It’s driving down our average. Get on it, smarties!
     
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  11. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    The universities will inevitably keep going toward remote learning, and as the screws tighten further, the liquidation of real estate will likely be necessary to maintain profitability without student food and housing.

    The full professors will be incentivized to retire and adjuncts will rule the roost to keep overhead down. The premise on which tuition is founded, the specialized knowledge of the old guard will fade into a landscape of PDFs and CliffsNotes, but emotion-based, non-STEM degrees will remain a lucrative platform.
     
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  12. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    An interesting thread.

    Being a college student was an unhappy experience for me - though I pulled out of my emotional death spiral and developed a solid career years later.

    I was perpetually hung up on such questions as -
    • Why do my history prof's lectures consist of page-by-page paraphrasing the very text I have in front of me?
    • Why do they insist that I worship the pampered athletes? Why do they insist that running with a ball is a skill I should admire? If our athletes beat Wisconsin, why should I be filled with ecstasy?
    • Why do they tell me over and over that these are the best years of my life? So untrue.
    • How will learning history - or Chaucer - or sociology - help me get a job and make some money?
    • Why should this obese, posturing idiot they call a professor be worthy of my respect?
    I had no emotional intelligence whatsoever at that time, and was incapable of accepting the good that college had to offer. Graduated with a 2.6 GPA. Every class I've taken since, I've earned A's; I should have started college as a 28 year old freshman, after I had had some experience in the outside world.

    Having said all that, let me ask my last long-suppressed question: what is tenure, and of all the jobs in the world, why do only professors deserve it?
     
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  13. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Friend of Leo's

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    Why should anyone’s body have anything to do with your learning?
     
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  14. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Choosing to get on a horse named Diablo and then blaming the horse for the results of that decision seems misplaced to me.....:D
     
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  15. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Will this be on the test?

    Based on my university and law school experience many students were there because their parents wanted them there - and were paying - or because they did not know what else to do.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
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  16. Tele T

    Tele T TDPRI Member

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    It is all BULL BUTTER!!!:lol:
     
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  17. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    "I taught my dog to speak!"
    "He's not saying anything."
    "I didn't say that he learned it."
     
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  18. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sports are big business for Universities, which are extension arms of bigger businesses and interests.
     
  19. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    I think you have described the dystopian nightmare that so many of us fear to a T. I count myself lucky: full time, pension, and benefits.
     
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  20. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    At Lord Of The Flies age, I worked in the back of a bar cleaning up every day after school.

    I would have to throw away the blowup dolls (sometimes with mustaches haha) from the weekend’s bachelor parties, break down the cardboard boxes, sweep and mop up, etc. “Jump” had recently been banned in the keyboard section of the music store, but I played it on my Grandmother’s Baldwin Wonderchord.

    My cousin and I made extra money crushing and selling huge bags of the beer cans that my Mom drank. Sometimes I used the bar money to buy groceries for our family.

    I didn’t mind stomping those cans on the tile of our squalored duplex kitchen floor, but in that year I started marking any and all that tried to make me “pick up that can.”

    A couple years later, my favorite high school teacher (he taught English and is unfortunately dead now) pulled me away from my red Modern Library Nietzsche and steered me towards the Kaufman translations.

    I thought perspectivism was the profound key that unlocked the iron gate that separated me from my authority figures.

    It would take me many heartbreaks and the salt of my brow to discover the cold recurrence of objective truth.
     
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