Seth Roberts recently reflected on the New York Times article The Future of Reading | A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like with his own piece entitled Student Power. Seth delivers his own constructive criticism regarding the American higher education system (emphasis his):
1. Students in a class are treated all alike. They’re not. All hear the same lecture, read the same texts, do the same homework assignments, take the same tests. I came to realize that my students differed greatly in their talents and career goals.
2. Professors teach how to be professors. Most students don’t want to be professors…“Teaching students to think” was a common way to describe teaching students how to be professors.
Seth concludes by stating:
Giving students more power over what they learn solves, or at least reduces, both problems.
I’d add that one of the failures of the education system as a whole is that there is too much time, energy and money spent on forcing assignments and material on stubborn students. “Student power” is a strategy to smooth these inefficiencies, assuming the students learning willingly.