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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:29 AM
Original message
Study: Many College Students Not Learning to Think Critically
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 12:30 AM by Hissyspit
Source: McClatchy Newspapers

Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Study: Many college students not learning to think critically

By Sara Rimer, The Hechinger Report | The Hechinger Report

NEW YORK An unprecedented study that followed several thousand undergraduates through four years of college found that large numbers didn't learn the critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills that are widely assumed to be at the core of a college education.

Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn't determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin.

- snip -

Forty-five percent of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college, according to the study. After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.

Combining the hours spent studying and in class, students devoted less than a fifth of their time each week to academic pursuits. By contrast, students spent 51 percent of their time or 85 hours a week socializing or in extracurricular activities.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/01/18/106949/study-many...
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. Also in the news, New Study finds: Water Still Wet.
This has been under way for a loooong time.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. thing is, what, if anything, can be done to change it?
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #13
103. better K-12 education, period
I'm a teacher and I know. We have 17 y.o. freshmen who read on the 2nd grade level, can't write a decent sentence and don't know what the water cycle is. They don't do reading assignments or homework, yet they're moved up to the next grade, or kept behind until they "earn' their hs diploma at age 21. Maybe by then their reading level will be 4th gr. Or they'll dropout before then without "critically thinking" about what they'll do next.

Age promotion, not social promotion, is killing education. Critical thinking? If we could get students to read, write and do math, maybe, but until then, don't hold your breath.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
32. Did colleges ever explicitly teach critical thinking?
Students should start the process of critical thinking in kindergarten. If students arrive at college as freshmen with reduced skills compared to 10, 20 or 50 years ago, you can be guaranteed that the finished product with be similarly inferior.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:20 AM
Response to Reply #32
52. they should get it in any subject
any and all subjects require critical thinking, science, math, history, sociology, geography, literature.... anything basically
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #52
70. Exactly.
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #52
97. yeppers. HOW TO THINK versus What to think
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CLANG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #97
99. What to think is easy. Glenn Beck will tell you what to think.
How to think? That should be developing since childbirth, just by watching and trying to understand the world and people around them. God help us all!
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #99
115. he and Limpballs, spalin and insHannity, they all tell non-critical thinkers what to think
and as long as they're making millions doing it, they'll keep it up
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #32
85. When and where I attended, it wasn't labeled that way, but yes, they did.
You learned some logic, more definitions and classifications, and to separate emotion from facts. At least we thought so. We didn't have the influence of media all of our lives, though. Still, it was a powerful teacher.

Reagan ending the Fairness Doctrine and the consolidation of media is a cause of great deal of the lack of ability for critical thinking. Without opposing viewpoints, the debate becomes very narrow and dishonest, doesn't allow for anything except certain conclusions that do nothing to change the status quo.

From that influence we have many students and even their professors who can't analyze very well. And the growth of 'think tanks' and their influence on institution of higher learning is more pervasive than one might imagine.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #85
117. If I may say so,
you have made an excellent contribution to this thread. K & R
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #85
121. Do you think that's really the case?
I just wonder what these schools must be. I graduated in 2001, and I thought - even then - that teaching critical thinking was the main purpose of an undergraduate education. No one really becomes an expert in anything with only a few years of varied study, but they should all learn how to think, research, and make a coherent argument. What on earth are they being taught if not that?
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #32
118. Yes. It's actually a core curriculum course. At least where I teach.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. they end up voting repuke too
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. ...and Democratic, and Green, and independent, and not voting at all
Ideology really isn't the issue here.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. bullshit
I think the 30% who heartily approve of Ms. Palin lack critical thinking skills
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #17
77. Think what you want
But you're showing your own lack of critical thinking skills if you hang on to your "we're all smart; they're all stupid" trope.
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #14
46. You are right. I have been
teaching college comp for over thirty years. One of my former writers - great critical thinking skills, really fine writer, good guy - is currently a writer at Fox ( and not the "news division" - won't mention the show, but not Beck or near it). Another of my best writers - same as above, great guy - is in the Sudan working with the Carter Center.

The one thing I can say is that those students with whom I am still in contact and who are political are authentic in their positions, are not close-minded, are actively engaged in that world, and think. Do I wish they would all work for the Carter Center, or Center for American Progress, or go into poverty and environmental law and vote progressive, yes. Do they? no. Teaching them how is not teaching them what.


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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #14
79. I'll second the motion: bullshit
If Liberals weren't skilled at critical thinking we would have a unified agenda. We don't toe any lines; we all have our own solutions to the problems and all have our own ideas of what the core problems are-which is why we achieve so little. Repugs don't think at all; they simply act when told to act by whatever authoritarian master they're following.
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #79
82. If we were better at critical thinking we wouldn't have swooned over Obama
thinking we were getting some progressive savior, when what we were really getting was the same ol' same ol'.

Yup. Just keep repeating the "we're so smart, they're so stupid" mantra. And electoral success is SURE to follow!
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #79
122. I'll see your bullshit and raise you a bullshit
Almost every single day, I'm appalled at the lack of critical thinking displayed by posters on DU. I notice this particularly in topics related - even tangentially - to science. I'm not surprised that people don't know particulars about areas of scientific study (I sure don't), but that people don't seem to understand the scientific method or how to separate real science from sensationalistic "journalism". Of course this goes for other subjects as well, not least of which is the difference between opinion and real journalism.
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kirby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
92. Exactly.
Just looking at the level of discourse and lack of critical thinking among people on this website highlights that point.
That was really the biggest shocker when I came here 4 years ago. I have a preconception that liberals would be enlightened
intellectuals able to critically think and debate. I was in for a rude awakening. But at least I got rid of a bias I had.

I think a major part of the problem is that the 'customers', for the most part parents, do not demand high standards from the schools.
To them, as long as their kid graduates, the job has been completed. If their kids spends most of their time partying, who cares,
as long as the degree is delivered.

When I, as a student, challenged the level of instruction I was receiving from a professor, the faculty/dean were shocked that
I would criticize the professor. It seems like it is just so rare for them to be challenged on their performance or
to be held accountable. Many systems are turning out students that have not really 'earned' a degree, they only 'put in the time', but
not the effort.
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
3. Candidate for this year's "You Call This NEWS?" award
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 12:51 AM by rocktivity
"To Figure This Out, You Had To Do A Freaking STUDY?" category

What was that about how much charter schools are?

:eyes:
rocktivity
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. I swear I spent upwar of 80 hours at times...and not just near finals
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
5. most of the college grads I know are not very smart
not at ALL
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:40 AM
Response to Original message
6. As if critical thinking education isn't to be expected earlier than college... nt
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
7. I remember profs trying to get the thought processes
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 12:47 AM by Hardrada
of some of my classmates going. Didn't work for most of them. They just went on into tech or biz and raised families, made some bread, and voted repuke if they voted and now are dyin off still without original thoughts. The way of the world, I suppose.
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
8. They have all come of age through No Child Left Behind bullshit
and when they find college isn't that way, they can't handle it.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Found out college isn't what way?
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 01:22 AM by No Elephants
"Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn't determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin."



Besides, I'm not sure how an unfunded bill would be to blame anyway.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
25. Maybe in the future, but not for the cohort studied.
They graduated from high school in 2005, NCLB I believe was enacted in 2002 requiring testing through 8th grade. The kids growing up with testing fever hadn't yet graduated from high school.

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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
9. This was inevitable once it became OK to teach pseudoscience like intelligent design and
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 12:53 AM by ck4829
preachy abstinence education.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:16 AM
Response to Reply #9
33. In college? Really? What colleges teach intelligent design rather than critical thinking?
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #33
63. No
You think that people just forget what they learn about in K-12?
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #33
68. I witnessed it being introduced as a discussion topic by a Christian teacher once in a class.
The Prof was trying to convince people of it actually.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #68
71. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
10. All through school kids growing up today are asked to memorize
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 01:06 AM by LibDemAlways
and regurgitate a bunch of random facts. No one teaches critical thinking skills. It isn't the fault of the teachers, who have to focus on getting kids to do well on standardized tests. It should come as a surprise to no one that when they get to college, students don't magically become critical thinkers.

I have no doubt that many college students spend little time on academics. They are too busy focusing on the social life they neglected in high school so that they could get into college.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #10
34. Studying for standardized tests throughout pre-college education is part of the problem.
The kids have been adding back a few hundred points onto their SAT scores, but at the expense of other knowledge and skills. It goes all the way back to primary school where kids are having to study for Dubya's standardized tests to demonstrate that all schools are up to standards.
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #34
78. The colleges themselves, which demand high SAT scores as
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 10:02 AM by LibDemAlways
part of the admission process, are, indeed, a big part of the problem. There is a huge industry in SAT preparation classes, and high school counselors and parents put great pressure on kids to take them.

My daughter is currently a high school senior. She has friends who spent the better part of their summers the past two or three years all day every day in SAT prep school. These kids truly have had no life. And the crime is that all of this emphasis on rote learning, memorization, and regurgitation isn't even preparing them for the rigors of college, which demands critical thinking.

There is an interesting new documentary called"Road to Nowhere" which addresses many of these issues. In it, a college admissions officer from UC Berkeley - one of the worst offenders in terms of expecting all AP classes, insanely high GPAs and test scores as a ticket to entry- admits she's part of the problem. However, the system is so entrenched, she is unable to offer or propose any alternatives. Just frightening.

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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #78
111. tut, tut. your assumption that college demands critical thinking is wrong.
apparently, it does not, according to the study, or graduates would be able to critically think.
\
College is mostly about memorizing obscure facts, too.
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #111
116. I went to college nearly 40 years ago. Back then students were
required to think. I don't recall many objective tests. I remember writing many research papers and essays. I still have them.

And this wasn't an Ivy League University by any stretch. It was a state college.

If college kids today do nothing other than memorize useless facts, I stand corrected. However, I refuse to believe that no college anywhere requires students to use their brains for something other than rote learning.
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4saken Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:12 AM
Response to Original message
11. Should be required long before college...
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 01:15 AM by 4saken
But what can you expect when the parents have little value for these skills, often taking special care to impugn them.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #11
35. bingo
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:23 AM
Response to Reply #11
38. +100
critical thinking should be learned long before college.
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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #11
56. Yep... it starts with the parents and filters down from there
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gkhouston Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #56
106. Oh hell, yes. I started in on this with my kid when she was a toddler. n/t
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #56
135. It's a little narrow to blame just the parents
A lot of these kids have very little contact with anyone who values critical thinking. You could blame

*parents
*siblings
*other relatives
*at least half their teachers
*pastors
*media figures

for giving kids the message that thinking hard about anything is a poor use of their time.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
15. i didn't find extra hours of studying helped me learn how to think critically
rather, it was teachers that taught the concept of analytical thinking so well that did the trick --and not a test really measured it.
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:01 AM
Response to Reply #15
22. It's weird, but I don't know where I learned the skill
I was always a questioner. And BS answers didn't do it for me.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #22
88. I Learned the Skill
at home, and expect that most people now middle-aged did as well (if they did at all). I blame the pervasiveness of TV (and video games) and the busy, busy, busy life style rather than education. My cousin's kids (millennials) spend every free moment playing sports. My cousins, my sister and I spent our free time as kids and teens exploring the world around us, building things and trying to figure out why the mini-bike wouldn't run. We were taught by example to question and seek a better way. Not sure how you teach thinking to someone who, when not competing on the travel team, is shooting people in a video game or shopping at the mall.
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #88
95. Good ways to teach critical thinking.......
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 12:36 PM by AnneD
Chess, debate, philosophy, comparative anything (art, history, literature).

I made sure the kids in my after school elementary class (Kid's Kollege) got a healthy dose. I taught 'The Secret Life of Money' and they learned to comparison shop. I arranged the problems so they had to go through several steps to get the right answer. I also included a young entrepreneur section where the kids brainstormed ways they could make money. The best ones were things like clip coupons and sell them to their mom's at face value, pulling weeds for a neighbor, cleaning dog poop...the list was endless. I always had a full class. I also taught the chess class too.

Critical thinking is just like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Standardized tests don't encourage this.

This just represents ways that the corporations have worked to dumb down the population. As Carlin once said (I am paraphrasing here), they want you smart enough to run the machines but not smart enough to question your working conditions.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:19 AM
Response to Reply #15
36. Exactly. It's done in the classroom, and it starts before college.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #15
55. you did the homework
so you were ABLE to analyze with the teacher
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:48 AM
Response to Original message
16. That's because it's cool to mock liberal arts education
"Hur hur, I have an English degree, you want fries with that? Hur hur"

Liberal arts educations are seen as irrelevant wastes of time that will never fast-track you into a coveted "career," and so they - along with the critical thinking skills they promote - are on the wane. Now people are encouraged to major in stupid things like "Management" and "Business" that teach corporate asskissing 101 and not much else.
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Fruittree Donating Member (488 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:52 AM
Response to Reply #16
24. Agreed...
My son majored in Philosophy and he said it was viewed as an easy, waste-of-time degree by the business majors.I read the papers he wrote and believe me, it was anything but easy. I think university degrees in general have switched into being a lot about job training and career preparation as you say rather than about becoming an educated, thinking human being. As seen in the last election, being educated is even viewed as somewhat of a handicap among many voters.
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #24
69. And then when they are expected to show any analytical abilities they
might be prone to illogical rhetoric or processes.
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corpseratemedia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #16
26. +1000
For far too long (Thanks Zombie Ronnie!) a liberal arts education have been mocked, and we now see the results.

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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:27 AM
Response to Reply #16
41. The article specifically mentioned that liberal arts majors did better
in developing critical thinking skills. Other majors may develop career specific skills, but it is apparent that they don't develop critical thinking skills.
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The Wizard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:39 AM
Response to Reply #16
45. Colleges added the business degree
to expand enrollment. It has nothing to do with education. To learn the difference between education and training try John Henry Cardinal Newman's "The Meaning of a University." He explains the advantages the educated man has over the trained man. The trained man can do one thing well whereas the educated man can adapt to new situations. The original meaning of education is to open the mind. Minds like parachutes work best when opened.
Critical thinkers are a threat to the wealthy elites who benefit from a work force that can't realize it's being exploited.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #16
57. my double masters in
us history and the theory of education fast tracked me into the teaching career.... my ex wife studied literature and is an english teacher.... just saying, not a BUSINESS career, but a career nonetheless
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
119. +100000+
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BuddhaGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
140. +1 from this Liberal Arts major!
n/t
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Electric Monk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
18. duh whut? wharble garble!!1!
:hi:
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
19. If they're thinking critically
then they're looking at the terms of student debt and deciding not to go to college after all
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:20 AM
Response to Original message
20. because you have to seek it out in our education system
which is really sad.
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Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:35 AM
Response to Original message
21. I just lost a job because of this
Basically, if you use a critical thinking/rational/engineering approach to technical jobs (I'm a machinist/builder/shirttail engineer kind of guy), your opinion about what is going on will rapidly diverge from those whoselofty pronouncements are unencumbered by fact.
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ehrnst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:23 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. Yep - my husband is a carpenter/welder, and he did not fit in on jobsites
Until he started work at a theatrical scenery shop.

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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #21
89. This Seems To Be True
everywhere. I career changed in my 40's and went back and got a Masters in a field I was interested in, but not working in. It was related to my original Bachelors. I get my first job in the new field expecting to use what I learned and continue learning. Come to find, I'm all the more depressed and angry because now I know ALL THE MORE about the gap between what we know and what actually happens in the field. Suggest doing things according to research, good practice and the ethics of the field? Heresy!!!
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Mopar151 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #89
129. So true....
Why do so many of the goobers beleive that everyone else is a dummy, despite massive evidence to the contrary?
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Anakin Skywalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:45 AM
Response to Original message
23. Well, it was a certain idiot's desire that none of his ilk were left behind.....
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 04:49 AM by Anakin Skywalker
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Liberal_Stalwart71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
28. Every semester I am forced to face the reality of this fact.
The students that I receive in my classes each semester bear this out. Thanks for posting. :(
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #28
123. How/why do you think they're accepted into the college then?
I'm seriously asking.
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
29. Having sat in a classroom
over the last 6 semesters (after being out of school for north of 25 years), I can really understand this.

the recent high school graduates are, frankly, scary.

They have:

- No study skills (all studying for an exam is should not happen in the hallway before the exam)
- No ability to string more than 5 words together in a coherent thought
- No ability to write using basic grammar
- Minimal vocabulary skills (words with more than 2 syllables seem to escape them)
- No research skills (if it's not in wikipedia it couldn't have happened. libraries? what's a library/card catalog?)

These kids couldn't draw a big picture conclusion from the data (which, BTW, is given to them - forget uncovering the data on their own) if you gave them a fricking paint by numbers kit.

I have seen some of their writings. One professor, being close to me in age (and with the same level of frustration I have so has found a kindred spirit in the classroom), has shown me some of the papers turned in (after sanitizing the names) and OH MY GOD!

- Run on sentences that are so incredibly long that you feel like they are going to continue into the next paragraph.
- Spelling? how can you screw that up with spellchecker?
- 10 page papers that long only because the margins and fonts selected make a 5 pager into 10.
- Obvious plagiarism (one of my personal favorites): 5 paragraphs...each written with a completely different style and variations of English (3 pages using British spelling and colloquialisms and 2 with American). And that was going to be missed...why?
- (Another personal favorite) Recycled papers. New opening and closing paragraphs in an attempt to pass off an comparative Lit paper as an History paper.

(something that the kiddies haven't figured out: you have to submit a softcopy of your paper. why? so they go into a big bank of submitted papers which allows the teachers to determine if the same paper has been turned in multiple times but in different classes/sections not to mention the bigger tools that catch plagiarism.)

Don't even get me started on public speaking/presentations. (yes, I know that some people get scared and fall apart but c'mon! at least give it the appearance that you rehearsed...even once). If an alien came down and tried to figure out English from these speeches, they would have to conclude that "um", "ah", "so" and "like" are all valid conjunctions and, in fact, are the most common 4 words in the English language.

Time management skills? You have to, at the very least, know when the damn exams are. In each class I have taken, no less than 2 people have shown up and learned that there was an exam that week (for which they haven't studied nor had the required blue book nor, if appropriate, scantron forms).

I am really hoping that these kids will get it together before they hit the real world otherwise we are going to have real problems with folks who can't:

- Draw conclusions
- Communicate clearly and effectively

all three of which are absolutely critical components to success


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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:14 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. "All three of which". . . .
you only stated two things.

And I only point that out, not to be nitpicky, but because I read your entire post and concur completely. I too returned to academia after a 25 year absence, in 1998, and my experience was so very much like yours, well over a decade ago.

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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:22 AM
Response to Reply #31
37. Not to disagree (because I don't), but both of you are in a special category.
Students who return to school after a significant absence are more driven, more serious than their younger counterparts. Incoming freshmen, no doubt, have fewer skills and worse habits than before, but you guys have higher standards simply because you have returned.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #37
60. i was damn serious and driven at 18
I was the first person in my my family to EVER be accepted to the university, counting all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and parents. Counting my father's cousin i was only the SECOND person with my last name to EVER go to the university, this was in 1997 and I can tell you that i was damn motivated. about 2 thirds of people who start the university stop before finishing.
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #31
47. sorry, I deleted the 3rd point
because it was part of one point.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:51 AM
Response to Reply #29
58. wikipedia is a great research too
if you use the footnotes to further your inquiries
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #58
72. I, personally,
think that the library (especially one attached to a university) is a better, far deeper resource than wiki but that requires a researcher to do more than sit in front of a tube and that he (or she) read at a higher level than the 6th grade.

I had one professor say that he would randomly pick 5 papers from each class and you had to provide physical copies of your sources (photocopies for the most part) to back up your footnotes.

I got picked, freaked him out when I told him I used the internet for all my sources (a major league no-no)...until I said Amazon and dropped all the real books on his desk with my little post it page markers all through the book. He didn't even check them but told me to go away (we laughed about it over a beer after the finals)
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #72
109. at the university
i would look for books or old primary source documents, old newpapers and the like on microfilm, now on googlenews there are old newspaper microfilms on the net!

i did love pouring over books in the university library while doing reserach
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #29
67. You didn't address the issue.
"Critical thinking" I.E. "This degree in english lit is costing $40,000 each year. It prepares me for a job doing... something... which pays $35,000 each year. Working at the Redi-mix plant pays $35,000 each year. It prepares me for a job driving trucks which pays $40,000 each year."

School isn't about critical thinking. In fact, if that's the main takeaway one gets from an education, they're being ripped off.

"See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library "

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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #67
73. Critical thinking and ROI
"Critical thinking" I.E. "This degree in english lit is costing $40,000 each year. It prepares me for a job doing... something... which pays $35,000 each year. Working at the Redi-mix plant pays $35,000 each year. It prepares me for a job driving trucks which pays $40,000 each year."

that is what they call ROI.

a $40K/yr BA in English will take a long fricking time to recover the investment (kind of like my neighbor's kid: $45K/year to get an elementary ed degree not what I consider a wise investment).

$40K/year for a degree that will make $80k/yr right out of school makes a lot of sense. $40k/year for a degree for a $30K/year job, not so much.

I have made a very good living over the last 20 years so I am in a position where I can change careers and get my ticket to teach (which is why I am back in school) but I am rolling that around in my head after seeing what the kids look and act like they do today.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #73
80. ROI = math. Critical thinking = "Why are they selling me this? The ROI sucks."
College advisers sell degree programs by overstating the ROI one can expect, or, if they can't do it with a straight face, they sell intangibles like "critical thinking". Going to college to learn critical thinking is a paradox. If the student had any inherent capacity for it, they wouldn't be purchasing it.

I am extremely cynical about the college industry.
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #80
125. Real critical thinking has taught me that money doesn't mean shit.
Who fucking cares what an education costs? I'll be damned if I judge it's worth based on fiat currency compared to other fiat currency acquired in the future. I'm in my 30's and I'm poor, and that's fine with me. I'm also seriously in debt from my master's degree. I just don't care. Without that master's degree I wouldn't have been able to get the three year contract I was on towards earning my PhD. I wasn't getting paid a lot, but I was getting paid to do exactly what I wanted to do and loved doing. I will likely die a very poor man. Any wealth or debts I have when I die will be meaningless, but I can never lose the experiences I've had and what I've learned through education, and the world will never lose the contributions I've made to our culture. I don't think a price can or should be put on that.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #125
136. Who cares? The college does. They require "fiat currency". n/t
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #136
138. yes, exactly - fiat currency.
This is all made-up pretend money. It's nothing at all. I'm not going to let the wild imagination of a capitalist system that I reject limit what I do with my life because of fear of the same system. The things that are important to me can't be bought with money, so I don't really care what monetary value someone else would place on it. In a week the dollar could plummet to where it would take a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread. If it did, it wouldn't matter to me. Sure, I could pay my loans back sooner, but so what?
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #138
139. You'll repay the "made-up pretend money" by selling the real value of the hours in your life.
Is now a good time to point out that the thread topic is about critical thinking?
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #139
143. Ok, I'll go over this again.
I (sometimes at least, and have for a few years) get paid to do exactly what I want to do in life. Not many people can say that. I'm only in that position because of the education I've received. Some of that education - like my master's degree - required me to take out loans to get. This means that in various computer systems there are a bunch of 1's and 0's that say I have to pay someone some money (which is based on nothing; not time, not productivity - just fiat currency) at some time. What could I possibly care about that? All of this education - whatever it supposedly costs - is so that I can do what I love with my life. If that's the case, "working" doesn't mean anything. I'm doing what I want to be doing. Sometimes I get paid for it, and sometimes I don't, and that's fine by me.
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #73
84. Well, if one views the situation
entirely in terms of return on investment, and that return on investment solely in economic terms, I would still have to disagree for a number of reasons.

First, the $40,000 a year is, presumably, based on a private college as opposed to a far more affordable state college ( not necessarily a flagship university). That cost can be further reduced by attending community college for core courses. In addition, no one pays full-freight, even at the privates ( I teach English lit and writing at a private and have a pretty good sense of how what we call "discount dollars" work). It is still a chunk of change, and with the ways college loans have been gamed in favor of the loaning agencies, immoral. Incidentally, while I teach at a private, my heart is with the publics (where I did my undergrad and early grad). Actually, I see the destruction of the public university and cc systms and the shift into "business models" as one of the frontx in the war against the middle, working and poor in the country).

Second, very few jobs are going to earn you 80k/yr with a BA or BS to start( some specialized fields, but few). After grad school, and those tend to be professional, that's more likely. Now, though, we are talking real debt. There are only so many high powered wall street law firms, hedge funds and so on ( and so many top flight grad schools vs where most wind up).

Third - and this is English Lit/ writing specific - English degrees ( along with history and philosophy) tend to have very good placement rates in business. In fact, generally speaking, from what I have seen, they tend to equal and, at least in our shop, surpass job placement in comm and business - in business. Writing skills, research skills, public speaking skills, the ability to synthesize information, to analyze and assess, - all are skills that are quite valued. The number of our students who go on to law schools is very high. We also send off a few to MBAs every year.

Fourth, unless I am misreading, going into teaching itself is a poor investment. Yes and no. Economically my wife ( she is a 7th grade English teacher toward the end of her career)could very well have gone into law or publishing and probably earned more over the long term. From a purely economic standpoint, however, and as a finacially conservative (and politically left) individual, she believes her teacher's pension and continued medical benefits compensate for that. It is true that you don't go into teaching for the salary, but you do go in for a particular kind of life, and some of that does concern how one lives one's life.

Beneath that, though, you indirectly raise a very legitimate point. Is college for "for getting a job" or is it the "life of the mind." They - in their extremes - are the parameters of the debate in American education since the first land grants. Both in their extreme are pretty dangerous. Without going into it, the historic ideal of American public education - and I emphasize public and ideal - has been to help develop an informed, active and critical citizen who will have both the practical skills and training to earn a living and prosper, and the critical skills and knowledge to add to the common good by being informed about issues and taking part in the public life of the country. That is a real experiment that no other country - at least to my knowledge - tried. It's pretty amazing and, I think, in danger right now.

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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #84
120. Excellent and accurate post.
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BreweryYardRat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #84
141. Some questions...
Edited on Wed Jan-19-11 12:45 PM by BreweryYardRat
Third - and this is English Lit/ writing specific - English degrees ( along with history and philosophy) tend to have very good placement rates in business. In fact, generally speaking, from what I have seen, they tend to equal and, at least in our shop, surpass job placement in comm and business - in business. Writing skills, research skills, public speaking skills, the ability to synthesize information, to analyze and assess, - all are skills that are quite valued. The number of our students who go on to law schools is very high. We also send off a few to MBAs every year.

Would you mind telling me what state you're in that has such a high placement rate for English majors? Furthermore, what sorts of businesses are they working for? Finally, can you give me examples of specific jobs that your graduates are doing?

I ask because I'm in Florida, and I finished my B.A. in English (with a history minor) in August. It took me two months just to get a low-paying temp job, and that's over and done with now. I want to make sure that I don't miss any potential opportunities.
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #141
144. Sorry to get back late
First day of class. I am in the Hudson Valley in New York at a mid-range private institution. Our department tends to have connections in publishing and media. In fact, we have a very good internship program. We have three concentrations - writing, lit and theatre - and there is some overlap. In a school of 4400 undergrads, we have slightly under 200 majors in English with a very solid number of minors. One thing - even our lit majors tend to take a fairly high number of courses in our writing concentration ( we are very strong in tech writing, editing and revision, advanced editing - real meat and potatoes - in a addition to creative writing courses). Over the last two years, as far as I can remember, we placed a number in very solid mid-range laws schools, a few in good ph.ds, and most of our teacher eds. Of others, among those with whom I am in contact ( the wonders of facebook), a fair number have found work - entry level and low pay but entry level to real gigs - in, as I said, publishing and media. A few are also winding up in fields like human resources, and non-profits.

Like every place else, we are getting hit hard by unemployment. The waiting tables and temping is lasting longer and in too many cases still going on. The diminished expectations -and not the kind I went through which was "what do you mean I can't earn a living as a poet" - but a real shift of expected occupational field is psychologically tough (one of my own kids is going through it). What our students are finding is that 1) they often have to relocate ( and that raises some really hard problems); 2) that they need to recognize and learn to emphasize their fairly strong skills ( eg. a person might have hated writing research papers, but the researching part is the skill they have that might be needed by a PR firm or an NGO - in other words, you might have to translate your skills, and an ability to "analyze poetry" - seriously - can be very useful in interpreting documents and analyzing markets); 3) that what might appear to be a job that is far afield of your training and limited, can offer some future ( for example, one of my favorite students , just got a job as a pa on a new television series - low pay, lot of hours, but she has an in for what she really wants to do - write ); 4) that some slight advanced training or skill development might be needed (eg - you have everything they want but, say, a particular computer skill).

It is really tough out there ( I know because I spent years - the mid 70s to mid 80s really sucked for a lot of us who tried to make it in academia). I am not suggesting that all of our students are getting placed. Far from it. But relative to other fields - and in particular business - you have an equal or better shot. I assume that you have been to your college's placement center. If you haven't, go. Bug them. It is their job to hhelp you. I also assume you have a placement portfolio set up with reference letters. Make use of your institutions alumni and career services. They really can help you refocus. And seriously, they can help you take the skills you already have and figure out a way to market them.

In all sincerity, good luck.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #29
90. Same Here
After college I continued to take classes in the evening just to fill in the gaps. Eventually, I was in my upper 30s, lower 40s, taking classes with twenty-somethings. Yikes.

My favorite quote from a professor - "Newsweek is not a primary history source." (This was before the internet.)

As far as the oral presentations... I found that in a class of 15-20 students, and this happened more than once, when it was time to do the speech they simply wouldn't show up for class. Once I was in a class of 12 and two of us actually did the speech. Then there was the class-long discussion about when the test should be and what should be included on it. I'm sitting there, "I'm PAYING for this!"
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:12 AM
Response to Original message
30. Actually, from what I have seen
over the past thirty years in higher ed ( I teach both upper-level college lit and intro college writing - relatively heavy core load), this has gotten worse every year since NCLB was instituted. The almost obsessive concern with standardized tests ( pretty much despised by every elementary and secondary teacher I know - and my wife and 3/4 of my relatives are/were public school teachers) has been destructive.

From my experience with first-year comp writing students - their surface skills (basic sentence structure, organization on a limited level such as a 3 point five "essay in a can,") are far better. Their ability to judge the value of sources, to synthesize information, to construct nuanced theses statements, to examine inferences and to recognize the distinctions among different kinds of statements have eroded.

It is an incredibly complex problem (at least from my perspective), and I think that there are three major influences - even before we get to the equally important (but in this regard secondary) factors ( such as wiping out arts programs, loss of funding for at-risk students, overcrowding of classrooms):

1) NCLB and the over-emphasis on teaching to testing. Developing critical thinking skills in children and adolescents is a slow process. Results are not immediate and, really, can't be quantified in the same way as, say, counting sentence fragments. They don't follow an easily charted time line (we also raised four kids - that is a no-brainer to anyone who works with kids), and teaching them does not fit an assembly line mentality. Obviously, teaching critical thinking goes against the entire corporate model of education.

2) Colleges and universities have their own unofficial version of NCLB - "assessment." There has been an emphasis on assessment and accountability that is - in its own way - as pernicious as NCLB and merely reinforces what NCLB begins. Accordingly, there is a strong movement toward standardization underway, and, again, it is a shift to a for-profit business model.

Quick point: I am not against assessment, certain types of standardized tests, and certainly not against student and teacher accountability. Neither am I against efficiently and effectively run school systems. The model being used to determine those, however, is based largely on a profit-driven corporate model.

3) The third is, I think, the most interesting (from my field of interest) and, in the long term, the most important. NCLB will go away eventually to be replaced by a new panacea. Changes in cognitive processes as a result of how we gather, take in, and process information have completely altered over the past 20 years ( roughly). It is not simply 500 channels, talking heads 24/7, and the terror of the intertubes stuff (the "how do you know it is real"). Likewise, it is not that "they" are spending too much time with/on . . . . That is far from the issue, and those exact criticisms always arise whenever there is a technological/cultural shift (Plato complains that writing is completely destructive in the Phaedrus).

More and more students have a different set of cognitive processes developing that seem to emphasize very different kinds or critical thinking skills. We really need to start examining this in far more depth, and we need to understand this. Right now we simply are at the edge. There are a number of theorists who are beginning to think about this. One of the earliest ( and he comes well before the internet as available) is the late Walter Ong.

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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #30
39. Thank you for posting the definitive comment!! You said it all.
We now can retire this thread.

I wish I would have read your comments first and saved time responding to others.
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #39
48. Thanks. It has been a secondary
field - critical thinking and technological development - for years.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
40. I'm not persuaded this is anything new.
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 06:27 AM by CBHagman
Back decades ago, when I was a university student, I noticed that Europeans used to be more intellectually rigorous than the Americans, and that seemed to have everything to do with their secondary school system. While we were encouraged to be note- and quiz-takers, my fellow students from across the pond were encouraged to analyze, to debate.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #40
61. night and day
the difference between teaching history in the usa (standardized fill in the blank tests and an occasional essay or presentation) versus teaching history in france (kides get documents, must sift through the evidence, and draw their own logical conclusion), lots of essays and presentations as well...
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #61
96. France....
is also big on philosophy too. Wonder if there is a connection, she asked to no one in particular.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #96
113. yes, philosophy is a course
required for all high school students here in france
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #40
126. that's not what I've observed here in the UK
I'm doing my PhD at a UK university, and a friend of mine who's a lecturer here (another American) will sometimes ask me to come to lectures just to get discussions going. He knows that Americans will voice their opinions openly, where-as the English students seem to be more afraid to make an argument that may be wrong.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 06:43 AM
Response to Reply #126
134. Thanks for the on-the-ground report.
I've noticed my younger co-workers seem to have a lot more confidence and assertiveness than I would have had at the same age, but I haven't had a chance to observe a university setting in a long time.
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harmonicon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #134
137. I hadn't really considered the time/age difference...
It's been ten years since I was out of college. Maybe roles between the countries have reversed in this time. In this whole thread I'm just assuming that my old university would be the same now as it was in the 90's, and that may not be true. What I've assumed is at work is the difference between higher education in the US and the UK. Here, people only study the subject they major in, where-as I studied lots of different things along with my major, but this might have nothing to do with it. I think I'd have to see the American equivalent again to really have any idea.
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GTurck Donating Member (569 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:27 AM
Response to Original message
42. We cheat....
their intelligence when they can pass through all levels of schooling and they come out of it with only trade school skills. I don't mean to disparage trade school skills for they are necessary but to spend ten of thousands of dollars to acquire them and then claim a "college" education and degree has always been a problem for me.
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Waiting For Everyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:30 AM
Response to Original message
43. Critical thinking should be an ENTRY requirement, much less for graduation.
College attendance is only a reason to make student loans for the banks nowadays ...with the result that we now have a subprime college industry and bubble, just like the subprime mortgage fiasco.

These kids will end up being the entitled and incompetent management class, dependent on low-paid and literate but undegreed worker "ants". (This has been going on for decades, it isn't new - just getting much worse.)

The "meritocracy" is a myth. For the most part, those who should be in college can't get in due to the cost; and those who have no interest in college get the degrees because they can buy them. And we wonder why we have a long list of crises in this world?

We human beings are skating on such thin ice, it's crazy.

Thank a (big) banker for it. They are the root of all evil that we have today.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #43
64. americans, not humans
many countries have affordable universities, (france, belgium, spain, portugal, denmark) hell in scotland universities are free

in the usa on the other hand, they cost a lot.... seems like a certain class in the usa wants to keep certain jobs for their kids...or make lots of kids go into debt....
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tomg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #64
86. I have friends who teach in the UK and
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 10:59 AM by tomg
in France. That is one of the main reasons - particularly in the UK - why the students are out in the streets - "austerity" and increased fees. Some students to whom I have spoken (although this in Italy) saw that their protests against austerity were part of a larger movement protesting cuts everywhere. In other words, they saw themselves in solidarity with older people, the poor, the working class. I hope our students get it together.

typo
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:33 AM
Response to Original message
44. Liberal arts students do improve.
From the article:

Students who majored in the traditional liberal arts including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics showed significantly greater gains over time than other students in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.

Students majoring in business, education, social work and communications showed the least gains in learning. However, the authors note that their findings don't preclude the possibility that such students "are developing subject-specific or occupationally relevant skills."



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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #44
65. edeucation???
perhaps those majoring in education already are critical thinkers??? this is horrible! i have an ma in education and we needed a shitload of critical thinking skills
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canoeist52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
49.  I think when kids stopped reading for pleasure
is when their critical thinking, reasoning an writing skills were lost.
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RoccoR5955 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:08 AM
Response to Original message
50. This is what happens when they "teach" to a test
People don't learn how to think, they learn how to pass a test. That's all.
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callous taoboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #50
105. Bingo.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
51. 85 hours a week socializing???
even during the first 2 years of university when i didnt have a lot of homework i had perhaps 2 hours a day to socialize monday to thursday, then perhaps 6 hours on friday and then 25 hours or so on the weekend if i didnt have homework. i also worked 20 hours a week and spent 20 hours commuting to and from the university and to and from work so i guess most of these kids are not working???

hell the last 2 years i had even less free time, i lived for my winter, spring, and summer breaks. i worked too and would save up to take 3 weeks off with no pay in the summer plus another over spring break. where do these young people get so much free time? how do they pay their tuition? books? etc?
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
53. Thinking critically is discriminating against conservative viewpoints and not politically correct
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #53
75. It is separating the Reality from the Spin--which is SO NOT PC!
What do people like Rove and corporations like FOX get paid for, if they are found out and discarded like the chaff they are?
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Frances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #53
76. And not profitable
Look at how many millions Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Beck make each year. All for propaganda.

How much money do commentators who think critically make each year--if they can get a job?
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Thav Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
54. I had just mentioned this to my state legislators this last weekend.
On how there's been several publications about the lack of critical thinking skills. It all goes back to primary school. With NCLB and Race to the top and all the other "student test performance = funding" programs. Instead of teaching students to think, they're teaching students to take tests, and answer the questions correctly.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:55 AM
Response to Original message
59. A nation of lockstep techno shopping facebook ego boosting robots.
Yayyy!!!
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #59
62. That it is. In terms of Critical Thinking though I see there is only
so much of that taught in school. Where I have seen people really get good with it is when they are using it every day. So while it should be taught and required in school it is still up to the person to use it to become actually good with it. Conservatives don't use it.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
66. I know of a professor who stopped giving essay questions because of
the inability of students to write or reason. He said he grew tired of reading garbage. This was in 2004 when he made the comment.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
74. My Critical Thinking Developed Early--Contrasting Reality with a Neurotic Parental Situation
but today, Reality is so neurotic if not outright psychotic, where are you going to find an unbiased, factual reality to contrast?
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
81. This all comes back to standardized testing
students don't read long texts or write essays any more. Everything is multiple choice. I teach graduate level courses part time and the sheer level of sloth that I see regularly is absurd. The vast majority of my students can't manage an "A" with open book multiple choice quizzes that are based on simple 20 page texts. The tests I received in the sixth grade were far more challenging than those being given to students seeking Master's degrees!
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captain jack Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
83. The assumption is that students want to think critically. nt
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Kablooie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
87. Republicans seem expert at thinking critically.
They are critical of everyone.
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
91. You have to be of legal adult age to think critically?
You should be learning to think critically almost at the same thing you start learning to think.

:headbang:
rocktivity
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Kievan Rus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
93. The popularity of Faux News and Sarah Plain proves this beyond the shadow of a doubt
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spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
94. Larger and larger classes to make ends meet...
As endowments tank, contributions decline, state support drops, etc., universities have had to increase class sizes wherever possible, and research and service demands just keep going up. This affects the high-demand areas like engineering and business more than other areas. No one has time to teach critical thinking skills with three (or more) classes of 40 or more students, because it requires lots of student writing, and then reading on the part of the faculty member.
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AllyCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
98. They won't need it for their minimum wage job at xyz factory
with crummy hours, no benefits, and nasty overlord bosses. But think of the money they'll save on union dues!
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
100. I did a lot of reading beyond the original article
In a sense yes, this is nothing new, but it's measurably worse. To the extent that the assessments they used are valid measures of critical thinking, similar research in the '80s showed students gains in the same skills as about double current gains over four years. At the same time, students today report spending about half as much time studying outside of class as they did then.

I'm also astounded at how low the bar is, in this work, for a "reading-intensive" or "writing-intensive" course - and that students are able not only to find courses that are neither, but actually construct college careers primarily out of such classes. "Reading intensive" is 40 pages per week or more reading; "writing intensive" is 20 or more pages of student writing per semester. I don't think I've ever taught a course that's not reading intensive by this standard, and I teach physics - not a field one traditionally thinks of as chock-full of reading-intensive courses! Heck, I was assigning 30 pages a night to my seminar (90 pages a week).
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gkhouston Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #100
110. Reading-intensive is 40 pages a week? What class, other than PE or a performance
ensemble, is less than that? When I was in college, the techie classes were a minimum of 75 pages a week and the "softer" classes were 100. The English and History classes usually included a couple of 20 page papers plus a midterm and final.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
101. ok
then college isn't working for them, because isn't that the main reason to attend college, to learn how to think critically? :shrug:
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
102. This is not an accident nt
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
104. Ya think?????
We've been living with the consequences of this omission for the last thirty years and it isn't going to get any better as the people who are now becoming teachers and professors lack the skill as well.
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katty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
107. no surprise there..'thinking' at all appears to be too onerous a task
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UrbScotty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
108. As a recent college grad, I wholeheartedly agree.
And I would add that this does not bode well for the future of our country.
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
112. duh.
Have you talked to some young people lately? Opinion is fact. I just got back from seeing 'The Social Network' and now I really don't like young folks, males, in particular. I should have gone to see 'The Fighter.'

How can the Hollywood Foreign Press think this is the best movie of the year???? They must all be young. lol.

Our 'culture.' Save me. :hide:
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delightfulstar Donating Member (402 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
114. Herein lie several analogies...
Those capable of critical thinking are akin to being able to cook your dinner and feed yourself.
Those not capable of it are akin to being mindlessly spoon-fed whatever is waved in front of them.

Wiki was mentioned earlier...I would almost compare it to reading Cliffs Notes, instead of actually reading Joyce (or Hemingway, or Faulkner, or Sandburg, or whomever). You're not getting everything, not by a longshot, and it's very subjective. As a parent with school-aged kids, I know it's my job to supplement what they learn in school. Sometimes it's with books, sometimes other media (films, internet, music, etc.), and sometimes, it's from personal accounts from me, or people I know. The way things are right now, I almost feel like I have to do this. It's basic human nature to think for oneself, and our educational system, sadly, isn't promoting that.
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
124. These students' entire K-12 careers were spent taking multiple-choice tests.
I see the effects of that sort of "education" every day in my classroom.
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Psephos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
127. The proof of it is all around us here. n/t
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
128. This is what happens when you "teach to the test" - K&R n/t
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bergie321 Donating Member (797 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:34 PM
Response to Original message
130. Of course not...
Thinking would be "socialism"...
:sarcasm:
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Enjay in E MT Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:44 PM
Response to Original message
131. Thank you Civics class
Once upon a time - about 1972-73 In High School, our civics teacher would bring newpaper & magazine clippings (political) for us to "analyze" for facts vs opinion. Many times, our assignment was to break down the article, sometimes with a partner where we had to agree (and often debate & back up) why a stated "fact" was really the writers opinion.

Was an excellent class and thank you!
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MadBlogger Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
132. Wow, that is sad....
But then again is it really that surprising? People go to school to make money, not to learn. After all everybody wants to engineering job or to be part of the team that finds the cure for HIV and make billions. Where is critical thinking necessary in any of this? In my opinion we should be teaching critical thinking in the classrooms but too many parents would get angry when their children come home and start questioning their ways.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 12:39 AM
Response to Original message
133. We are in a race to the top, and we don't have time to stop and think...
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
142. The direct and diabolical result of the bullshit "No Child Left Behind" act.
:puke:
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FromNY Donating Member (16 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-11 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
145. At 100 and 200 level courses, you're just absorbing new mat'l
The first two years of college are all about a smorgasbord of courses and adjusting to a new social situation.

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