Stop Chasing High-Tech Cheaters 
I’d like to think that, ideally, Mr. Socol’s point is that high schools and universities should be teaching a student how to think rather than teaching a long list of ‘trivia’ to be memorized.  That’s a goal I can get behind, even if it would have made me an academically ‘dumber’ student.  But the problem is that quick information access is also making students lazy.  I’d say at least once I week, I come across a post like this:  “I have a test on Jane Eyre tomorrow!!!  I so need help on the essay.  I know the teacher is going to ask about major themes.  Help, somebody tell me about the major themes!!!”  (Well, like that, only not as well written.  There aren’t spell checks on most forums, and the poster wouldn’t have bothered copy/pasting over to Word to give it a check.)  And this poster doesn’t want help, this poster wants to be told what Jane Eyre is about.  Preferably, he wants someone to give him an essay to paraphrase.  Never mind that he could have looked up the Wikipedia entry on it.  Or, he could have spent the time, read the book, thought about it a little, and come up with his own ideas about the book’s major themes.  But then, the teacher is probably just looking for a check list of certain phrases to be used in the essay, so if the student comes up with something original, he’s probably screwed anyway…

3 thoughts on “

  1. deethie

    From this article (although I didn’t read the comments), and what I’ve already heard about education in the US, the memorising and regurgitating of “facts” is fairly paramount. For all I think is wrong with Australian schools, we actually teach a “curriculum” (which isn’t at all a curriculum in the old sense – it isn’t prescribed at all) called ‘the thinking curriculum’ and really attempts to have a focus on teaching thinking skills over facts. Change is slow, a lot of teachers still put their faith in can students answer this question exactly as I want them to and in my current school the assessment still reflects this. But I’m working on it (and so, incidentally is the government). 🙂
    And it wouldn’t have made you ‘dumber’, it actually gives a lot more students a wider scope for being ‘smarter’ in a lot more areas.

    1. Katherine Nabity Post author

      We get so obsessed in the US about being/staying on top, and our government thinks that a standardized before high school graduation will make it all better. So, the schools and the teachers are pressured to get students through this test, and they end up just teaching the test, instead of tools for critical thinking. Makes me crazy…

      I am not a great critical thinker. Maybe if I had been schooled in a different system, I would be. I don’t know. But I am great at regurgitating facts, and therefore I was pretty ‘smart’ student. If I didn’t live with Eric, I probably wouldn’t have changed much, but he’s always questioning. It’s rubbed off on me, and I’m better for it.

    2. najud

      We are pretty miserable in regard to promoting thinking over memorizing in the US. However, some places are much better than others. I’ve seen quite a bit of change in some curriculums that make me think that we will get there eventually.

      Interestingly, there is an Op-Ed article in USA Today,
      written by a woman no less, that touches on this in a discussion of the trend that boys are not doing well in school in the US. I would agree with her that there has been a feminization of lower education, but would contend that this happened long ago and is a culprit in the legacy of rote memorization in teaching. I also agree that the situation is being exacerbated by a feeling that the female students should be catered to. Frankly, they have been catered to all along by a system run by women. The additional attention the boys were getting was merely leveling the playing field. Now things are completely topsy-turvy and a fundamental change needs to be made. There shouldn’t be a simplistic division of boys and girls, but students should be divided and taught differently. We need to test how children learn and teach them in the way they learn.


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