I was unable to attend class last week due to illness, however I had spent the week considering the previous week’s class and had some thoughts. One part of the class stuck out to me, which were the two videos that professor at Kansas (?) posted regarding his students and their thoughts on education. Kim mentioned that the student’s seemed even more apathetic to their education in the second video. I am not sure that I entirely agree.
In the second video, the students showed initiative by creating short videos, mostly using post-it notes and other written cues, to send a message to educators. This took effort and creativity on the part of the students. This level of effort was not shown in the first video. Because of this effort, I felt that the students were less apathetic in the second video about their situation, and at times it seemed as those the students were enjoying the process. Granted, making videos not have been an option in the first video assignment. It also may be that the students in the second video were finally given an ‘interesting’ assignment that they could have agency over and leapt at the opportunity.
The educational system in America, or any nation, is far from perfect. I doubt there will ever be a system in which students of all types thrive. Perhaps there needs to be a multitude of systems that students can self-select into. However, if we look at today’s educational system and compare it to 50, or 100 years ago, I think we have an improved system.
For instance, more people have the opportunity for an advanced education today in America than ever before. This is due not to the educational system, but more to advances in technology and efficiency, less people of students age are needed to support their families with jobs on farms and in factories. While the educational system has been seen as a factory, students these days have the agency to choose their major and are able to participate in extracurricular activities to increase their learning abilities. Further, as societies’ knowledge has progressed, the level of knowledge that students leave school with today is more advanced that 10 or 20 years ago. Granted, relating the material to students may not be done in the best way all of the time at universities today.
I am not sure if students are more apathetic today than 10 or 20 years ago. I would like to think that universities have become better than the boarding school model of yester-year. While we are not perfect, I am ok with that as long as there is a continual desire to progress and evolve.