The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Clueless in Academe” Precis August 26, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 2:24 pm
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Gerald Graff

Students are often clueless as to what to do when they enter college.  Intellectually, that is.  Academia seems to try to mask everything they do and talk about in secrecy, using jargon and other things that are not easily accessible to new students.  These students are not being prepared well in high school, but that is also the fault of the colleges not passing the information down to them.  Overall, students need to be able to listen to ideas, reiterate what they are and then argue about them.  This enables them to have a public persona, to be able to converse and discuss and have an opinion about whatever. 

These “arguments” are to help discover different points of view and see how those points of view effect your own.  Too often professors do not clarify this and students would rather sit in silence than seem silly or appear foolish in any way.  They listen to the ideas, but when they are not able to repeat them, enlarge on them and in a sense teach them, it becomes that much harder to actually learn them themselves. 

The students are done a disservice in more ways than one.  Many times they are left with feelings of disinterest or seeing the material as irrelevant.  Professors aggravate by doing several things:  making problems where no problems (should) exist, encouraging students go argue for something that could just as easily be argued another way, not assisting students in seeing that argumentation is not necessarily aggressive and allowing students to not elaborating on their ideas and discussions, nor having them reiterate their peers’ ideas in their own work.  It is time to evaluate how the academia presents itself to its students and think about helping all of them, not just the ones that can muddle through on their own.


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