6 Responses to “don’t ask, don’t tell”

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They are getting an education . . . just not the one that we think would be best for them. That’s even sadder. Sharon

schan1 said in February 12th, 2009 at 17:02

I think you are assuming a bit much here. It’s hard to question what you know when you really have no alternative point of reference. Students don’t start school at age 18. They’ve always known “learning,” at least in school, as finish a book, chapter, etc., take a quiz or test, write a paper, do a project. Study it all over again for the final. Why would college be any different? They’ve had plenty of experiences with teachers missing days and learning coming to a halt. Why would college be any different?

They’re not so much in on the con as they are unaware of what learning truly is and feels like at its best or what it means to take a more active role in their own learning.

The not so funny part is that when students do choose to fiddle with the process they usually choose to do so at the expense of themselves and their learning rather than as advocates for themselves and their learning.

b.e. said in February 13th, 2009 at 19:55

But b.e., i don’t think you are giving them much credit. They do know what learning is. We talk about what they have learned. They have learned many things, as have we all. . .anything we love to do, spend a lot of time engaged in (sports, musical instruments, Nintendo, sailing). Almost none of those things they have learned in school, however, and they are astute enough to understand the difference.

radicalteacher said in February 13th, 2009 at 20:03

I think you misundestood my point. They know what learning is and feels like outside of school. I’m saying their experiences with school learning have probably never been equal to that learning,why should they suddenly question something that has gotten them to this point. Maybe if the outside learning experiences that you mentioned were more obviously valued and more regularly experienced in their classroom learning than they currently are it would be a different story. Most likely the experience/learning that happened while they were playing a sport or an instrument isn’t what they think got them into your college. Passing tests and sitting through boring classes is what they think did. I’m giving them plenty of credit. how can I not I’ve obviously been in their shoes.

b.e. said in February 13th, 2009 at 22:43

I want to share a wonderful story of student activism. As I mentioned in another post I was passed over (in part I believe because of my unconventional teaching methods) for an interview for a tenure track post at a public university that says it privileges teaching over research and service though I have been teaching over 9 years, here over a year with some of the highest teaching evaluations in our department. So, when the students found out about they, they have formed a petition group using face group – a group of 22 students, representing a large proportion of those classes with whom I work this semester and last teaching about policy issues and in which I focus a great deal of time on the importance of political activism. They did that on their own with no prompting by me! They sent an e-mail to the Dean of the college who bumped it back to the program chair who offered to meet with the students. My sense was that it was a way to minimize their effort since I fully expected few would choose to go further with the effort. But, to my surprise one whole class of this year’s students have decided to meet and to incorporate the issues of student voice in hiring decisions more generally as their focus (something with which I fully concur). It has brought tears to my eyes – the greatest pleasure I get out of teaching is seeing students take up their own cause for improving their own education.

schan1 said in March 12th, 2009 at 18:22

Incredible! Sharon thank you so much for sharing that story. Don’t minimize your role in inspiring them.

radicalteacher said in March 12th, 2009 at 18:46

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