26 January 2009

Reflection on "The Net Generation Goes to College" by Scott Carlson

I decided that the best way for me to approach this assignment was to copy and paste quotes that I wanted to comment on as I read. Below, you'll find the quotes (in order of appearance) in bold followed by my commentary.

"Most important, Mr. Sweeney and other observers say, Millennials expect to be able to choose what kind of education they buy, and what, where, and how they learn."
This is absolutely ridiculous. As helpful as it would be to have the learning environment adapted to the needs of each student, it's simply not plausible. Now, there is something to be said for the use of "learning styles," such kinesthetic, auditory and optical, but a teacher cannot be expected to bend to the desires of every student. For instance, some students may prefer to learn outside--are you going to teach the class in the schoolyard? No, you are going to teach in the classroom.

"The Millennials, or "digital natives," as he prefers to call them, feel hemmed in by an educational system that continually looks to history, that does not take young people seriously, and that squelches creativity, a key characteristic of Millennials."
I do agree that we as a generation feel less "listened-to," but, personally, I feel like that is going to make me a better teacher. A fellow education major and I were having a discussion the other day about how tragic the destruction of creativity is and how much we are going to stress to our students that we want to hear what they have to say. I think that if I felt as though I had been "heard" as much as I wanted to be, I wouldn't decide to stress that in my teaching career. We also discussed how important we felt when someone did listen to us, and both of us were listened to by English teachers.

"To her mind, among many students today, there is far too much focus on "me." "
I often think so, but at the same time, it goes back to feeling as though our ideas weren't important--at this point, it's almost a feeling of "if I don't care about me, who will?" I think the best way to destroy those cynical thoughts is to show students that other people do care about them, and therefore they can stand to care for others; life shouldn't be so cutthroat so early.

"More troubling, she says, is that students are downloading the slides and notes and skipping the classes."
I know so many of these. For me, I only resort to this method as a last resort. If the professor is boring, if attendance doesn't count, if it's my first class of the day and the notes are online, I will probably skip. Still, if any of these things aren't true, I'll probably go to class.

"If they balk at learning subjects that seem "unnecessary," it's because there are so many other things to do. "
My friends and I have often complained of "unnecessary courses," and it's for this precise reason. We hate to have our time wasted--that's why we skip classes that we can. Here, I find that it is partially because of the price we are paying to attend SLU. I love it here, but I hate when I'm mandated to take a class I don't feel will forward my career. One prime example is the science credit that I'm required to have as a education major--it has to be a life science. Why can't I take psychology, which I feel like would personally benefit my career? Instead, I have to take Earth Science, and, based on a friend's experience, it will most likely be one of those "download-the-notes-from-blackboard" classes. That is a huge part of why I chose to take this class online. I still get the credit, I can do the work as quickly or slowly as I need and I don't have to go to class.


Megan said...

I completely understand your frustration with "unnecessary" classes. I chose Astronomy as my Earth Science, mainly because it actually relates to my Math major, but I can't think of one that would directly benefit an English major. It's an interesting class, though, and I might recommend it (after I see what the first test looks like).
On a related note, the required "Biology for Education Majors (with Lab)" sounds like a huge time-waster.
-Megan Beck

Daughter of a King said...

Lucky for me, I took pre-med Chem and Bio first semester freshman year. I'm set and hated it. I do think that there's a bigger focus on "me," but since when is that a bad thing. It's not necessarily a narcissitic focus. Just looking out for ourselves and doing what we need to do to succeed.
-Shannon King

Regina Phalange said...

I think there's a significant point you've hit here that is worth elaborating on- as specifically English majors that Kathryn and I are, we need to listen to our students and make their opinions and thoughts valid by listening to them in discussions and allowing them to express themselves through journals or creative writing. There is an important distinction though between this and listening to their every want and need and catering to it.
I think that's really important to remember. Good call, Kathryn =)