Search This Blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

it's all too much

miraculously, we have made it through the first quarter. to hear me talk, you'd think that we were in some sort of collective "donner pass"-hell scenario, when in fact we are simply learning together.

what is rather funny is how horrific learning can feel sometimes, especially to those whose egos are invested in their "expertise," the "rightness." roger often says his value is his "profound ignorance." i'll reframe this as "his awareness of his profound ignorance."

this feels important: notice, faculty, what it feels like to not know something, to be outside of one's comfort zone. it is uncomfortable and we often lose compassion for students' emotional content in this learning process.

i can see that we are all more or less profoundly ignorant, but it is our belief that we know that really gets us into trouble.

about my title, "it's all too much."... i am referring to what all that we are "teaching" the students in our habitual patterns.  i've talked about this with respect to physics, but i see the same thing happening with chemistry.  as bob and i prepare to put the class together for spring, i'll describe this interaction:

bob koob (Ph.D., chemistry), after examining the learning objectives that we received from the chemistry department for the course that he is to teach: No chemist would know all the things on this list. I don't even recognize some of these things.

why are we doing this?  why?  we all know that it is reported that graduates only use 10% of what they have learned in college.  why are we shoving that additional 90% into them and packing it down like a musket only to enable students to violently reguritate it onto a test at the end of quarter.  WHY?

we believe that students "need" to know this. but do they when they are done with the quarter?  perhaps, but i believe it has a half-life of about a couple of weeks.  we have some students from Fall quarter physics in the course as TAs.  while they got As in the course last quarter, they are unable to analyze a basic inelastic collision.

i am tempted to post my college transcripts as an illustration of what one doesn't know, even after "earning" an "A" in a course.  (of course, you'd have to know me well enough to know all the things i don't know in order for this to have the appropriate shock effect).

No comments:

Post a Comment