“Why Teach” by Mark Edmundson And The Dogma of New Criticism

Should a high school students, college student, or even an adult who has long since graduated from formal schooling be expected to value what is termed the Western literary canon just because it is held in such high regard by the individuals who first dubbed it the Western literary canon?

I pose this question after reading what I consider to be a semi-polemical work by University of Virginia English Professor, Mark Edmundson, entitled Why Teach, in which he claims in the chapter headed “Narcissus Regards His Book/ The Common Reader Now” that the devaluation of so-called Western Culture and the Western literary canon is caused by a growing “culture industry” in the United States in which the main standard by which society judges a work of literature is its ability to elicit feelings of pleasure and satisfaction from readers, Continue reading

Critical Thinking vs. Memorization

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which I will tell you about my experience taking an educational assessment techniques course completely dictated and dominated by a Pearson textbook curriculum.  Throughout the course, I engaged in a series of email correspondences with my professor, in a passionately desperate (or desperately passionate…whichever way you prefer to see it) attempt to escape the confines of classroom discussion Continue reading

Postformal Psychology and Critical Thinking: The Finale

This is the third and final installment of my series of blog posts on postformal psychology and critical thinking.  The first one was entitled “Sick and Tired of Your College Professor Lecturing at you everyday? Postformal Psychology May Just Be the Answer To Your Woes.”  The second one was very plainly entitled “Postformal Psychology Continued.”    

Etymology refers to the origin of culturally validated knowledge.  Where does it come from?  How is it formed?  How does it come to be commonly accepted as truth?  In the beginning of the movie, Eva has a tense exchange with Hilary Swank in which she reveals her deep hatred for white people. Continue reading

Postformal Psychology Continued

This blog post is a continuation of my last post entitled “Sick and Tired of Your College Professor Lecturing At You Everyday?  Postformal Psychology May Just Be The Answer To Your Woes.”

We begin with the psychological theory that, if implemented, promises to take all levels of our educational system far beyond their current boundaries.  Postformal educational psychology begins with the fundamental premise that the definition of intelligence needs to be democratized.  What does this mean?  It means that we have to stop thinking of intelligence as something that is fixed and innate, immovable and inborn-in other words one size fits all and if you don’t fit than too bad for you.  We have to remove ourselves from this fatalistic mode of thinking which dictates that some kids just can’t learn and are doomed to fail in school no matter what.  As prospective teachers, we have to avoid saying “I did all I can, and now I just can’t do anymore.”  We must not only willing be but able to critically interrogate our own teaching practice, to constantly be rethinking and altering our own pedagogies with respect to the needs of our students, and resist falling into the trap of labeling some of our students as less than intelligent.  To say that intelligence needs to be democratized is to say that no one is less than intelligent and that intelligence is indeed learnable. Continue reading

Sick and Tired of Your College Professor Lecturing at you everyday? Postformal Psychology May Just Be the Answer To Your Woes

Today I gave a presentation on postformal psychology and critical thinking for my educational psychology course.  It was a long presentation, nearly 30 minutes, but even though the recommended time was 10-15 min, I didn’t make it so long for the grade.  As you can expect , most of the people in the class are prospective teachers and I felt that it was critically important to get the message of postformal psychology out there to get us teacher ed. students to really think about how our own educational experiences will influence our future practice.  Postformal psychology is obviously much more extensive that what I present here, and I encourage all to go out and do further research on this amazing and awe-inspiring topic. Continue reading

Stop Curving! Stop Lecturing! Stop Grading! Start Teaching So We Can Start Learning!

Two weeks ago my genetics class received the results of our second test.  The class average was a 48, and to my amazement, our professor, whom I will refer to as Dr. James decided to curve the test by 29 points, consequently raising the class average to a low C.  In response to what I consider to be “the easy way out” and a great dereliction of duty by a professional educator, I sent him the following e-mail, Continue reading

What Has A College Education Meant To Me?

Just One More Semester Till I Get That Damn Piece Of
Paper

I just got done listening to the podcast of Freakonomics Goes to College on WNYC.  In the second part of the show, Steven Levitt, American economist, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago, and co-founder of the Freakonomics blog, makes a profound statement with which I think every current and former college student could easily identify. Continue reading