State of General Educ LO7141

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Thu, 2 May 1996 16:25:40 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO7038 --

> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 96 10:41 GMT+0500
> From: (Ram Sundaram)
> I tend to disagree with some of you when you say "abolish universities" or
> "I vowed to never again take another college or university course ". I
> personally love going back to school*I did it after two yrs of working and
> am planning for it again*.

I too agree that universities have a role to play, and I don't see
the need to abolish them. However, like any other organization,
universities must renew themselves or they tend to make themselves
unnecessary! This is a common outcome for all organizations.

> I believe no institution can give you total
> education. All universities/schools can do is to provide the "trickle
> charge". Its then upon the individual(s) to carry on.

In a very interesting discussion in one of my classes a student
got up and decided to share her concerns with her peers. She drew a big
circle on the board to represent what people need to learn to be ready for
life (whatever that means). She then drew a very tiny shaded are in that
circle to represent what education in general contributes to a person's
life. Within the big circle she drew another one to represent what a
person needs to do to prepare for a job. Again, within the smaller circle
she shaded a very small area to signify what education contributes to the
preparation of a person for the world of work. She was not attacking
education. She was really telling her peers how they needed to do on
their own to prepare for life and for a job.

My view on this is that, on the one hand, we tell colleagues and
in academic circles that we are not here to prepare people for jobs out
there. But on the other hand, presidents, school administrators, deans,
etc. are constantly telling students that "our university prepares people
to face the demands of jobs of the future." Even when our students
graduate, commencement speeches tell about their readiness for the labor
force, ...

I am not very optimistic aboput what we do in Schools of Business.
I don't think that our contribution is good enough to help our students
fucntion effectively in the business world. I understand that they have
to do a lot on their own, but our school systems generally do not train
people to do that, to be active learners. Our systems reinforce very
striongly the passiveness of students.

> Long ago I saw a
> poster which said "Education is not a race for grades" The fault lies with
> us who believe that "structured classes, class materials (textbooks), the
> classroom, the 3 hour-credit course, etc" are an end by themselves. Change
> the point of view and look at it as the beginning of something larger.
> Then things fall into perspective. As I stated in an earlier mail , we
> need to realize that the move from school to work is a move from a small
> class room to a larger one.

The problem is not the size of the classroom. I understand that
the world is a huge classroom. The problem is how the learning happens in
each. The school again gives you things in a highly structured way, spoon
feeding students is a common approach, not interconnedtedness among the
subjects is emphasized, students are taught (subtly or openly) not to
question, very passive environements, etc. Learning in the world
classroom is completely unstructuire or the material is presented like
that, some times we don't even know where the information is, or what
information is important, inquiring minds are required to learn, etc.

> And when I look at it from your viewpoint some questions come up ?
> * What is the alternative ?
> * How do we ensure that the freedom is not abused ? Are we
> equipped to do it ?
> I think instead of "shocking the system", let us work towards improving on
> what is existing and then build "The NEW" around it.

I don't exactly know what the alternative might be. I see that in
my comments I implied some changes that I (very personally) consider as
crucial to improve education. Interactive systesms, giving students more
responsibility for their own learning, etc.

I don't totally understand you question abouot freedom. What kind
of freedom? What is abusing the freedom?

-- Ivan,


*************************************************************** R. IVAN BLANCO, Ph.D. Voice 305 899-3515 Assoc. Prof. & Director Fax 305 892-6412 International Business Programs Andreas School of Business _________E-Mail Addresses________ Barry University Bitnet: Blanco%bu4090@Barryu Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695 Internet: <<<<< ---------------- >>>>> "Si un hombre fuera necesario para sostener el Estado, este Estado no deberia existir." "If one man were necessary to sustain a Nation, this Nation should not exist." Simon Bolivar ===============================================================

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