Competition and Reality

When I take a second to put down the kool-aide every now and then I can see reality a little better. Lately I have been thinking about the culture I live in where school is not really cool and learning is great as long is its not taking place in a classroom (boring!). I would even argue that there is such a strong culture of anti-school among my generation. We are brainwashed to dislike school and sometimes for good reason. There just seems to be inherently a negative connotation built in with the word school. Rewinding my brain to just a year ago (it seems to be getting harder) I can remember the feelings of discontent with school, its lifelessness and boring tradition.

Lets be honest the University is competing for student’s attention and it is really an unbalanced fight. For freshman that are getting their first taste of freedom away from parents and the identity they have been living with most of their lives, it is a time to explore new ideas. There are also friends, clubs, parties, etc. Academics are going to take a back seat to these things most of the time. Combine this with the anti-school sentiment and it is plain to see that for most students being a student isn’t really the most important thing. And here is what I am really getting at, when there is no community built around learning, students will not be interested. I don’t believe cool tools or awesome professors could fully convince someone of the importance of learning. It would just be a blip on the radar screen in a sea of tradition, non-controversial, and rote schooling.

People have been trying to take steps towards building a better community through new emerging technologies, but they still face that same culture of anti-school. Even then you just aren’t going to get through to people and sometimes people aren’t that interested in “real school”. This doesn’t mean we should stop trying because their are people out there that do care and some people who don’t even realize yet that they care. A connected community of student learners has the ability to bring people in, but until this happens there will just be little silos of education surrounded by fields of “plain old school”.

I would not say this is a call to arms, a post to point out successes or failures, or even saying that this is an impenetrable wall. It is merely a social commentary of one student on the state of the learning community at an institution.

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6 Responses to “Competition and Reality”


  1. 1 Steve Rosenbaum February 19, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Public education is a very old system that saw it’s hey day in the early 1950s. Not a lot has changed since then. The world has. However, learning is mandatory in a world that thrives on information. So I’d say focus on learning rather than education.

  2. 2 bill February 27, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Oh, how I wished you and I could talk about this. Blogging’s okay, but face to face… This is such an important topic, and I feel as if I just ignore it all to hell because I have no, none, zero, zip nada ideas about making it better. Ideas that would actually have a half chance of working, I mean. I think its got to start with communication, but how do you give the nascent ideas life? Beats me.

  3. 3 sehauser February 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Well maybe if you bake a batch of cookies I might just accidentally show up in your neighborhood ; )

    One of the great things about being at college is that there exists a community of people who do think about these ideas a lot, sadly most of them are just professors and staff with little input from students. I’m very lucky that I am involved in such a community on campus and online that care about learning so deeply. Even with all the work that people put in there is just something about education and learning that our culture seems to be against, anti-intellectualism. Of course this is just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure there are several books about how American culture runs counter to intellect (dare I say thinking?).

    I probably could rant on and on and on and on, you get the idea.


  1. 1 Pedablogy: Musings on the Art & Craft of Teaching » Blog Archive » More on FSEM 2.0 Trackback on March 3, 2008 at 8:51 am
  2. 2 FSEM Musings at The Fish Wrapper Trackback on March 6, 2008 at 9:19 am
  3. 3 mikecaulfield.com » Blog Archive » FSEM Musings Trackback on July 7, 2008 at 7:21 am

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