Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why Students aren't running things.

Micheal Wesch is the professor whose students made what many consider a seminal video on education. I include it here because I figure that it's a pretty good example of why the adults in the educational system shouldn't really listen to the opinions of students.

When you do, you run the risk of justifying that senioritis is legitimate, that students really are different today, that technology is necessary, that teachers are solely responsible when their students tune out, that cheating is a natural response to teacher pressure, that students can't memorize but should learn information retrieval instead, that blah, blah, blah ....

Wesch - In spring 2007 I invited the 200 students enrolled in the “small” version of my “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” class to tell the world what they think of their education by helping me write a script for a video to be posted on YouTube. The result was the disheartening portrayal of disengagement you see below. The video was viewed over one million times in its first month and was the most blogged about video in the blogosphere for several weeks, eliciting thousands of comments. With rare exception, educators around the world expressed the sad sense of profound identification with the scene, sparking a wide-ranging debate about the roles and responsibilities of teachers, students, and technology in the classroom.

Students are forever whining about their work.

Why do we have to learn this stuff?
Because you can. Because you’re here and you signed up for it.

When am I ever going to need this?
I don’t know. What I’m teaching you isn’t directly applicable, but it does train your mind in a way of thinking that you haven’t been able to use before.

Why do I have to take this class?
Beats me, kiddo. You’re the one paying money for this. If this is your way of wasting Daddy’s money, then have at it. If it is pointless, then wander over to Admin and drop out. Why spend months in a class you can’t learn in, that you disparage constantly and that you don’t like? How dumb are you to put yourself through months of something you consider a boring hell?

These students all think they’re clever because they can make a YouTube video disparaging education. They think that because they can stick an iPod bud in their ear and watch a movie on the laptop while browsing Facebook and texting the kid next to them that they’ve made a statement.

It’s pretty amazing if you think about how shallow and silly they really are.

Doesn’t bother me but I want to challenge them all - “If it’s so pointless, wean yourselves from the parental feeding tube and fend for yourselves. Drop out, get a job, change the world. Put that infinite information retrieval ability to the test. Show the world what special people you are. You’re the digital natives, the 21st century students. Show us your magnificence.”

Or at least shut up. I'd be grateful.

1 comment:

  1. did you get the invite to new blog? I typed a few e-mails incorrectly so I thought I should check.