The issue of what colleges should teach has featured prominently in debates within academic circles in recent years due to concerns that colleges are churning out graduates who are merely book-smart and nothing else…
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Burke-Vigeland concluded that the current fixed forward step-sitting arrangement of lecture halls is unsuitable for interactive learning as it prevents students from expressing their individuality. He advocates for a flexible classroom which allows professors and students to restructure the classroom to allow team discussions, reversible writing on the walls, incorporation of technology that enables communication with other students around the world, and adaptation of the room for different course work (Burke-Vigeland, n. p.). In the article, What Should Colleges Teach? Stanley Fish raises concern regarding a recent trend whereby college courses are increasingly diverting from their main discipline of focus into other unrelated disciplines. He focuses on the discipline which he teaches, literature, and points out an observation he made whereby writing courses in colleges nowadays tend to focus on analysis of various social issues such as globalization, racism, and sexism instead of focusing on writing. As a result, few students taking writing courses in college are able to write a clean English sentence. The author asserts that writing courses should focus exclusively on writing and teach nothing other than grammar and rhetoric (Fish, n. p.). In the article, Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught, Emily Hanford asserts that the traditional method of teaching in colleges whereby students learn through non-interactive lectures is no longer effective since most students are not able to absorb most of the information that is usually disseminated in a single lecture. The author advocates for the peer-instruction method of teaching in colleges and provides proof of its effectiveness by referring to the success of a number of professors who use this method to teach their students. These include Joe Redish, a physics professor at the University of Maryland, Brian Lukoff, a researcher in education at Harvard University, and Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard University (Hanford, n. p.). In Rethinking the Way Colleges Teach Critical Thinking, Scott Johnson laments the way through which colleges teach critical thinking. He asserts that current practices whereby students are taught through lectures to memorize information is not achieving one of its aims of developing student critical thinking skills. He uses his specialty discipline of instruction, Earth Science, as an example to demonstrate how students can be taught facts while simultaneously gaining crucial critical thinking skills. Johnson asserts that the best way to achieve this purpose is to dedicate a significant portion of the course teaching students how the factual information of the course was gathered through logical and critical evaluation of available information (Johnson, n. p.). In the article, Colleges Should Teach Intellectual Virtues, Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe underline the importance of helping college students develop intellectual virtues in addition to the traditional roles of teaching them the skills of their discipline, literacy skills, and critical thinking. The authors assert that colleges should help students develop intellectual virtues so as to mold them into all-rounded human beings (Schwartz and Sharpe, n. p.). From the five articles analyzed, it is evident that the education students acquire in colleges does not completely suit their needs and requirements for both professional and personal development. Technology and globalization have
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This definition, if relating it to education, would primarily focus on the pre-requisite subjects which are not needed in a student's overall mastery of his major. Mandatory subjects to earn a diploma may not suit the student's interest and their main goal of studying in college.
Purposes and Practices of Liberal Art Colleges
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