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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another Annoying CHE Post

In this post a professor of education tries to demonstrate that "students today" cannot listen any more. You would think that a professor of education would know that, when a pedagogical exercise fails, the fault is not going to be (exclusively) with the students.

I am sympathetic to the aim of the exercise. The professor first sets up a dichotomy between her white, middle-class, mostly female students and her panel of parents, chosen carefully for their diversity: Lesbian, Jewish, Latina, etc... (All the parents on the panel are women.) I do sympathize with the professor whose experience has taught her that her own students are racist, and condescending to parents in their own community. I cannot question her characterization, though it does seem a bit overgeneralized.

The professor seems to know that just being lectured to is not ideal pedagogy. She herself never lectures (we learn from her own comment to her own post). Somehow she thinks her students should just sit there and absorb information without fidgeting, during an hour and a half in the evening when they might have been in class all day.

She herself does not seem to have the capability of listening. For example, she doesn't ask her students about what worked or didn't in this exercise. She interprets their discomfort in very self-serving terms.

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