Last week, students in INTS 400 Critical Perspectives on Social Justice and the Common Good had a fruitful discussion on the role of education, pedagogy and "how we learn" in modern universities. The discussion originated in response to this article from conservative commentators Barbara Kay and Adam Daifallah. I brought the article to class in order to ask the question that the article accused us of never asking: do universities teach students "what" to think rather than "how" to think?
The discussion was impressive. Students reflected on their experiences, discussed the broader state of education (including difficulty of access) and how students tailor their arguments to different academic situations.
I was impressed with the high level of intellectual responses from the students. After class a student sent me this poem which I found to quite adequately reflect how many students (including myself) felt as we were navigating our education. Well done class!
There is something I don't know
that I am supposed to know.
I don't know what it is I don't know
and yet am supposed to know,
and I feel I look stupid
if I seem both not to know it
and not know what it is I don't know.
Therefore, I pretend I know it.
This is nerve-racking
since I don't know what I must pretend to know.
Therefore I pretend to know everything.
I feel you know what I'm supposed to know
but you can't tell me what it is
because you don't know
that I don't know what it is.
You may know what I don't know,
but not that I don't know it,
and I can't tell you.
So you will
R. D. Laing