What’s the situation with today’s education?

1. In the article by Lee McIntyre, he discusses this idea of “willful ignorance” and describes it as, “when we know that there are other ideas out there, but we refuse to consider them”. He infers that this idea of ignoring things that we don’t agree with has lead to many of the problems that our society faces today. It has even started to raise questions about what it means for schools to “create a safe environment for learning”. If people are ignoring the ideas they don’t agree with instead of discussing them and learning about other’s opinions, what does this mean for the learning process? Will we ever be able to solve society’s problem if we are all “wilfully ignorant”? Do you think this idea of wilful ignorance exist here on campus? If so, how and how can we fix it?

2. In the article by Todd Gitlin, he offers this idea that when you come to school, “you are here to be disturbed”. By this he means, the things we learn about in school aren’t meant to make us happy or feel good. Often times, especially when studying history, students deal with information that is brutally violent as he even calls our history being like a “slaughterhouse”. Do you agree that you should be open to being made to feel uncomfortable if its for the sake of your education? If you weren’t made to feel uncomfortable in school, would the learning have the same effect on you? Later in the article, he begins to incorporate facts about how anxiety and depression have been on the rise for quite some time now, and the groups of people being affected are becoming younger and younger. What do you think is the cause for such high rates of depression and anxiety? Why do you think the populations of people affected are getting younger and younger as time goes on? Any ideas on how we can lower these numbers?

3.In the article “Watch what you say” by Fredrik DeBoer, the arguments that are proposed are similar to the arguments made in the article by Gitlin. It contains the idea that education is being suffocated because of the fact that professors feel that they now need to, “sand away the aspects of one’s self presentation that may offend anyone”. In other words, professors are now so scared to lose their jobs for accidentally offending a student, that they begin to change the way they would normal talk or teach. What effect do you think this has on the classroom environment and the learning experience as a whole. Do you think this is okay or should students know that their professors are not trying to offend anyone by their teaching methods?

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Older Generations vs. Millennials: Can ‘having your head in the clouds’ be the future?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Thomas Friedman referred to our generation as being very impressive but says that we need to, “get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention” (Friedman). Cameron Russell then counters this argument by saying that our generation is in fact getting organized, however this organization is just taking place on the internet. He also says that there is a, “deafening roar in cyberspace” and that saying our generation is “too quiet” and “too online is the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be online” (Russell). Both writers have valid points but cannot reach an agreement on the issue. Is there a way to combine both of the writers ideas to create a solution superior to just getting organized in person or just getting organized online? if so, how? and how do you think the authors would respond to this solution?
  2. In Pomeroy and Handke’s article, our generation has been described as, “a lazy cohort of entitled and narcissistic brats” (Pomeroy/Handke). With this description in mind, also note that our generation is poorer, more indebted and less employed than the generations preceding us. If this is really the case, then how did out generation get such a bad reputation? Do you think this is deserved? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that in today’s world, Friedman’s idea of our generation, “speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall” (Friedman), will solve the problem? Or is it unrealistic to think this problem can be solved without the use of technology?
  4. The last line of Friedman’s article reads, “That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute.” (Friedman). By that he is referring to the James Meredith statue at the University of Mississippi. Do you agree with his thought that actions, similar to the ones taken by James Meredith, are the only kinds of action that promote activism? Or, is there other ways?
  5. Do you think its fair for older generations to hold us accountable for cleaning up the mess they left over decades, especially when they are seemingly expecting us to do it so quickly?
  6. If the economy has been being, more or less, crippled by our parent’s and grandparent’s generations and even generations before that, then is it even realistic to think our generation can fix it in our lifetime alone? About how long do you think it will take?

BIG WORDS:

  • Gluttonous-Excessively greedy or insatiable
  • Stymied-To impede, obstruct, frustrate, thwart (a person, an activity, or a project).
  • Accrued-Accumulated or increased by growth; (esp. of interest, leave) built up over time.
  • Eschew-To avoid, shun.